Scotch Pine (Scots Pine)

Pinus sylvestris
Pinaceae (pines)

An evergreen conifer with a tall, straight trunk and a rounded or flattened crown. In Missouri, rarely grows in the wild except where persisting at old home sites.

Leaves needles bluish-green, with a waxy white coating, 1–2 inches long, in bundles of 2; when growing vigorously, to 4 inches long and in bundles of up to 4.

Bark is orangish, thin and flaky on new growth, becoming grayish-brown, thick and scaly with age.

Twigs light brown, with scalelike buds arranged spirally.

Conifers don't technically "flower," but pollen is released in April–May.

Fruits cones, maturing the second year after pollination, turning from green to grayish- or yellowish-brown; 1¼–3 inches long, egg-shaped to conical, scales with with a small spine; seeds blackish, winged.

Height: to 100 feet.
Habitat and conservation: 
This tree is not native to North America. Although formerly popular in landscaping, its use has been declining because it is particularly susceptible to a parasitic roundworm called the "pine wilt nematode." This pest is spread by insects as they move from one pine to another. Because no control measures exist, dead and dying Scotch pines should be promptly removed (they usually die quickly once infected). Stresses such as heat and drought can prompt nematode damage.
Distribution in Missouri: 
Cultivated statewide as an ornamental and in Christmas tree farms; may sometimes be found persisting at old home sites. Its popularity in landscaping as been waning due to its susceptibility to pine wilt nematode.
Human connections: 
Scotch pine has been one of the top trees America uses for Christmas trees, and special plantations grow, train and trim these pines for the perfect Christmas tree "shape." Its use as a landscaping tree has been declining because of the depressing inevitable outcome of pine wilt disease.
Ecosystem connections: 
This pine is native to northern Europe and Asia. It is the national tree of Scotland (where it's called Scots pine). More than 99 percent of the great, ancient Caledonian forest of Scotland has been deforested, and conservationists there are trying to bring back some of that majesty.
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