Pinus halepensis

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Pinus halepensis
Calanques -- Calanque de Port Pin - Pinus halepensis.jpg
P. halepensis on the Calanque de Port-Pin, France
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pinophyta
Class: Pinopsida
Order: Pinales
Family: Pinaceae
Genus: Pinus
Subgenus: Pinus
Species: P. halepensis
Binomial name
Pinus halepensis
Native range of Pinus halepensis

Pinus halepensis, commonly known as the Aleppo Pine, is a pine native to the Mediterranean region. Its range extends from Morocco and Spain north to southern France, Italy and Croatia, and east to Greece, all over Malta and northern Tunisia, with an outlying population (from which it was first described) in Syria, Lebanon, southern Turkey, Jordan, Israel, and Palestinian territories. In Israel it is called Jerusalem Pine.


Pinus halepensis, the Aleppo pine, is generally found at low altitudes, mostly from sea level to 200 metres (660 ft), but can grow at an altitude of up to 1,000 m (3,300 ft) in southern Spain, well over 1,200 m (3,900 ft) on Crete and up to 1,700 m (5,600 ft) in the south, in Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia.[2][3]


Pinus halepensis is a small to medium-size tree, 15–25 metres (49–82 ft) tall, with a trunk diameter of up to 60 centimetres (24 in), exceptionally up to 1 m (3 ft 3 in). The bark is orange-red, thick and deeply fissured at the base of the trunk, and thin and flaky in the upper crown. The leaves ("needles") are very slender, 6–12 cm (2.4–4.7 in) long, distinctly yellowish green and produced in pairs (rarely a few in threes). The cones are narrow conic, 5–12 cm (2.0–4.7 in) long and 2–3 cm (0.79–1.18 in) broad at the base when closed, green at first, ripening glossy red-brown when 24 months old. They open slowly over the next few years, a process quickened if they are exposed to heat such as in forest fires. The cones open 5–8 cm (2.0–3.1 in) wide to allow the seeds to disperse. The seeds are 5–6 mm (0.20–0.24 in) long, with a 20 mm (0.79 in) wing, and are wind-dispersed.[2][3][4]



Bark and trunk

Plate from Lambert's Description of the Genus Pinus

Related species[edit]

Aleppo Pine is closely related to the Turkish Pine, Canary Island Pine and Maritime Pine, which all share many of its characteristics. Some authors include the Turkish Pine as a subspecies of the Aleppo Pine, as Pinus halepensis subsp. brutia (Ten.) Holmboe,[5] but it is usually regarded as a distinct species.[2][3][4][6] It is a relatively non-variable species, in that its morphological characteristics stay constant over the entire range.[2]


The resin of the Aleppo Pine is used to flavor the Greek wine retsina.

From the pine nuts of the Aleppo pine is made a pudding called Asidet Zgougou in the Tunisian dialect; it is served in bowls, covered with cream, and topped with almonds and small candies.


A dead Aleppo Pine in front of the Étang de Thau.

In its native area Pinus halepensis is widely planted for its fine timber, making it one of the most important forestry trees in Algeria and Morocco.[4] In Israel, the Aleppo Pine, along with Pinus brutia, has been planted extensively by the JNF. It proved very successful in Yatir Forest in the northern Negev (on the edge of the desert), where foresters had not expected it to survive. Many Aleppo pine forests exist today in Israel and are used for recreational purposes. Although it is a local species, the replacement of natural oak Maquis shrubland and garrigue with tall stands of pine has created "ecological deserts" and has significantly changed the species assemblage of these regions.[7] In Israel natural patches of Aleppo pine forests can be found in the Carmel and Galilee regions.[8] The species produces timber which is valued for its hardness, density and unproblematic seasoning. Seasoned timber is inclined to tear out with planing, but this can be avoided by using sharp blades or adjusting the sharpening angle of tools.[9]

The Aleppo Pine is considered an invasive species though useful in South Africa; in South Australia a control program is in place on Eyre Peninsula.


A grove of Aleppo Pines in Pinet, France

Pinus halepensis is a popular ornamental tree, extensively planted in gardens, parks, and private and agency landscapes in hot dry areas such as Southern California, where the Aleppo Pine's considerable heat and drought tolerance, fast growth, and aesthetic qualities, are highly valued.


The "Lone Pine", a prominent landmark tree at an ANZAC First World War battle at Gallipoli, was a related species, Pinus brutia (Turkish pine). Cones from the battlefield from both species were taken home to Australia, and plants sourced from the seeds were planted as living memorials.[10]

Further the pines were common on Lemnos when an ANZAC First World War hospital was there - they were planted in a namesake Lemnos Hospital site in Shenton Park, Western Australia [11] [12][13] They were unfortunately severely damaged in the 22 March 2010 Perth Hailstorm

Cultural references[edit]

Paul Cézanne had an Aleppo Pine in his garden at Aix-en-Provence; this tree was the inspiration and model for his painting, The Big Trees. As of 2005, the tree is still growing in Cézanne's garden.[14]


  1. ^ Conifer Specialist Group (1998). Pinus halepensis. 2006. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. Retrieved on 12 May 2006.
  2. ^ a b c d Farjon, A. (2005). Pines. Drawings and Descriptions of the genus Pinus. Brill, Leiden. ISBN 90-04-13916-8.
  3. ^ a b c Rushforth, K. (1999). Trees of Britain and Europe. Collins ISBN 0-00-220013-9.
  4. ^ a b c Nahal, I. (1962). Le Pin d'Alep (Pinus halepensis Miller). Étude taxonomique, phytogéographique, écologique et sylvicole. Annales de l'École National des Eaux et Forêts (Nancy) 19: 1–207.
  5. ^ Christensen, K. I. (1997). Gymnospermae. Pp. 1–17 in Strid, A., & Tan, K., eds., Flora Hellenica 1. Königstein.
  6. ^ Richardson, D. M., ed. (1998). Ecology and Biogeography of Pinus. Cambridge University Press ISBN 0-521-55176-5.
  7. ^ F.T. Maestre, J. Cortina . "Are Pinus halepensis plantations useful as a restoration tool in semiarid Mediterranean areas?" Forest Ecology and Management, 2004 -(Elsevier) 2004.
  8. ^ Newman Information Center for Desert Research and Development, Aleppo pine
  9. ^ Reducing Tear Out when Wood Planing
  10. ^ Wilcox, Mike; Spencer David (May 2007). "Stand up for the real Anzac Lone Pine Of Gallipoli". New Zealand Journal of Forestry: 3–9. Retrieved 29 March 2012. 
  11. ^ Register of Heritage Places - Permanent Entry Lemnos Hospital, Heritage Council of Western Australia, 1999-08-27, 1833, retrieved 2013-09-22 
  12. ^ "Lemnos Hospital in Shenton Park to be placed on the State's register of Heritage places". Ministerial Media Statements, WA Government. 
  13. ^ "Lemnos Hospital and Pine Trees". ANZAC - A Grateful State Remembers, WA Government. 
  14. ^ Cézanne, P. Visions. In Architectural Digest December 2005: 117.

External links[edit]