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Pinus sylvestris - L.
Common Name Scot's Pine, Scotch Pine
Family Pinaceae
USDA hardiness 3-7
Known Hazards The wood, sawdust and resins from various species of pine can cause dermatitis in sensitive people[222].
Habitats Forming woods in the mountains of Scotland[7, 9].
Range Europe, including Britain, from Scandanavia south and east to Spain, Albania and temperate Asia.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Fully Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Wet Soil Semi-shade Full sun

Bloom Color: Yellow. Main Bloom Time: Early spring, Late spring, Mid spring. Form: Oval, Pyramidal.

Pinus sylvestris Scot

Pinus sylvestris Scot
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of cone
Pinus sylvestris is an evergreen Tree growing to 25 m (82ft) by 10 m (32ft) at a fast rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 2. It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower in May, and the seeds ripen from Mar to June. The flowers are monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant) and are pollinated by Wind.The plant is not self-fertile.
It is noted for attracting wildlife.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very acid and very alkaline soils.
It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry moist or wet soil and can tolerate drought. The plant can tolerate maritime exposure.
It can tolerate atmospheric pollution.

P. rubra. Mill.

Woodland Garden Canopy; Bog Garden;
Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Inner bark.
Edible Uses: Condiment.

Inner bark - dried and ground into a powder and used in making bread[2, 66, 105, 177]. It is often mixed with oatmeal[115]. A famine food, it is only used when all else fails[115]. A vanillin flavouring is obtained as a by-product of other resins that are released from the pulpwood[200].
Medicinal Uses

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Antirheumatic;  Antiseptic;  Aromatherapy;  Bach;  Balsamic;  Diuretic;  Expectorant.

Scot's pine has quite a wide range of medicinal uses, being valued especially for its antiseptic action and beneficial effect upon the respiratory system. It should not be used by people who are prone to allergic skin reactions whilst the essential oil should not be used internally unless under professional supervision[254]. The turpentine obtained from the resin is antirheumatic, antiseptic, balsamic, diuretic, expectorant, rubefacient and vermifuge[4, 13, 46]. It is a valuable remedy in the treatment of kidney, bladder and rheumatic affections, and also in diseases of the mucous membranes and the treatment of respiratory complaints[4]. Externally it is used in the form of liniment plasters and inhalers[4]. The leaves and young shoots are antiseptic, diuretic and expectorant[9]. They are harvested in the spring and dried for later use[9]. They are used internally for their mildly antiseptic effect within the chest and are also used to treat rheumatism and arthritis[254]. They can be added to the bath water for treating fatigue, nervous exhaustion, sleeplessness, skin irritations[9]. They can also be used as an inhalant in the treatment of various chest complaints[9]. The essential oil from the leaves is used in the treatment of asthma, bronchitis and other respiratory infections, and also for digestive disorders such as wind[254]. An essential oil obtained from the seed has diuretic and respiratory-stimulant properties[254]. The seeds are used in the treatment of bronchitis, tuberculosis and bladder infections[254]. A decoction of the seeds can be applied externally to help suppress excessive vaginal discharge[254]. The plant is used in Bach flower remedies - the keywords for prescribing it are 'Self-reproach', 'Guilt feelings' and 'Despondency'[209]. The essential oil is used in aromatherapy. Its keyword is 'Invigorating'[210].
Other Uses
Dye;  Essential;  Fibre;  Fuel;  Herbicide;  Lighting;  Packing;  Resin;  Shelterbelt;  Wood.

A tan or green dye is obtained from the needles[168]. The needles contain a substance called terpene, this is released when rain washes over the needles and it has a negative effect on the germination of some plants, including wheat[201]. A reddish yellow dye is obtained from the cones[6]. This tree yields resin and turpentine[64, 66, 100, 171]. Oleo-resins are present in the tissues of all species of pines, but these are often not present in sufficient quantity to make their extraction economically worthwhile[64]. The resins are obtained by tapping the trunk, or by destructive distillation of the wood[4, 64]. In general, trees from warmer areas of distribution give the higher yields[64]. Turpentine consists of an average of 20% of the oleo-resin[64] and is separated by distillation[4, 64]. Turpentine has a wide range of uses including as a solvent for waxes etc, for making varnish, medicinal etc[4]. Rosin is the substance left after turpentine is removed. This is used by violinists on their bows and also in making sealing wax, varnish etc[4]. Pitch can also be obtained from the resin and is used for waterproofing, as a wood preservative etc. An essential oil obtained from the leaves is used in perfumery and medicinally[46, 61]. A fibre from the inner bark is used to make ropes[115]. The roots are very resinous and burn well. They can be used as a candle substitute[115]. The leaves are used as a packing material[46]. The fibrous material is stripped out of the leaves and is used to fill pillows, cushions and as a packing material[7]. Trees are very wind resistant and quite fast growing. They can be planted as a shelterbelt, succeeding in maritime exposure[75, 200]. Wood - light, soft, not strong, elastic, durable, rich in resin. Used in construction, furniture, paper manufacture etc.[13, 46, 100]. A good fuel but it is somewhat smokey[6, 66, 115].
Cultivation details
Industrial Crop: Hydrocarbon;  Management: Standard;  Regional Timber.

Landscape Uses:Christmas tree, Specimen. Thrives in a light well-drained sandy or gravelly loam[1, 11]. Trees grow well on poor dry sandy soils[11, 81]. Fairly shade tolerant[186]. Prefers a light acid soil, becoming chlorotic at a pH higher than 6.5[186]. Trees can succeed for many years on shallow soils over chalk[185]. Tolerates chalk for a while, but trees are then short-lived[81]. Tolerates some water-logging[186]. Dislikes poorly drained moorland soils[1]. Established plants tolerate drought[186]. Very wind resistant[49, 75], tolerating maritime exposure[166]. Tolerates atmospheric pollution[226]. Fairly long-lived, to 200 years or more and quite fast growing[185], but trees are very slow growing in wet soils[81]. Young trees can make new growth of 1 metre a year though growth slows down rapidly by the time the tree is 18 metres tall[185]. This species is extensively used in cool temperate forestry as a timber tree[200]. Plants are strongly outbreeding, self-fertilized seed usually grows poorly[200]. They hybridize freely with other members of this genus[200]. Cones take two seasons to ripen[7]. Plants are easily killed by fire and cannot regenerate from the roots[186]. A good food plant for the caterpillars of several species of butterflies[30]. This tree has over 50 species of associated insects[81]. Leaf secretions inhibit the germination of seeds, thereby reducing the amount of plants that can grow under the trees[18]. There are several named forms selected for their ornamental value[188]. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus[200]. Special Features: Not North American native, Naturalizing, Inconspicuous flowers or blooms.
It is best to sow the seed in individual pots in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe if this is possible otherwise in late winter. A short stratification of 6 weeks at 4°c can improve the germination of stored seed[80]. Plant seedlings out into their permanent positions as soon as possible and protect them for their first winter or two[11]. Plants have a very sparse root system and the sooner they are planted into their permanent positions the better they will grow[K]. Trees should be planted into their permanent positions when they are quite small, between 30 and 90cm[200]. We actually plant them out when they are about 5 - 10cm tall. So long as they are given a very good weed-excluding mulch they establish very well[K]. Larger trees will check badly and hardly put on any growth for several years. This also badly affects root development and wind resistance[200]. Cuttings. This method only works when taken from very young trees less than 10 years old. Use single leaf fascicles with the base of the short shoot. Disbudding the shoots some weeks before taking the cuttings can help. Cuttings are normally slow to grow away[81].
Other Names
Found In
Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :
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Botanical References
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Readers comment
Elizabeth H.
Michael Frankis Tue Oct 31 20:10:52 2000
Common name is Scots Pine (not Scot's - delete the apostrophe!)
Elizabeth H.
Lukasz Luczaj Thu Feb 28 16:19:58 2002
Young shoots of Pinus sylvestris are soft and tasty (though very resinous). It is still common in the Polish countryside to make a syropy beverage by soaking these soft shoots in water and sugar. I also adore them raw or add them to pasta sauces, they taste exactly like pesto.
Elizabeth H.
Debbie Wed Mar 1 2006
Wow what an invigorating report! this is going to help me with my university work so thanks. i was trying to figure out why scots pine was so adaptable and now i have so thankyou.
Elizabeth H.
carl Wed Dec 19 2007
The wood is strong and elastic, it makes a good bow.
Elizabeth H.
S TO BE H/G Mon Apr 7 2008
A beautiful tree forming vast forests in Scandinavia with spruce, birch, and juniper with ground cover of bilberry and cloudberry. Lynx hunt roe deer and the moose feeds of the young shoots in these great forests. Once there used to be another animal in these forests, a animal that also hunted the deer and ate the berries in the shade of the pines, that animal was the hunting and gathering human, they would follow the deer herds migrating and live in a balance with nature that we have forgotten now farming has engulfed us but they did which they did not even realise. it was the same all over the world, man had made mistakes in his hunting and gathering past like contributing to the extinction of megafauna on the continents out of africa but they learned and lived by their instincts as just another part of the forest. Because hunting and gathering is living by your instincts is is part of the natural order.
Torgny N.
Jan 12 2012 12:00AM
Pollen is missed out as a food source!
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Subject : Pinus sylvestris  

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