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Pinus koraiensis

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Pinus koraiensis
Cultivated at Morton Arboretum
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Gymnospermae
Division: Pinophyta
Class: Pinopsida
Order: Pinales
Family: Pinaceae
Genus: Pinus
Subgenus: P. subg. Strobus
Section: P. sect. Quinquefoliae
Subsection: P. subsect. Strobus
P. koraiensis
Binomial name
Pinus koraiensis

Pinus koraiensis is a species of pine known commonly as the Korean pine. It is a relic species of the Tertiary, identified as a rare tree species by United Nations.[2] It is native to eastern Asia: Korea, northeastern China, Mongolia, the temperate rainforests of the Russian Far East, and central Japan. In the north of its range, it grows at moderate elevations, typically 600 to 900 metres (2,000 to 3,000 feet), whereas further south, it is a mountain tree, growing at 2,000 to 2,600 m (6,600 to 8,500 ft) elevation in Japan.[1] Other common names include Chinese pinenut.[3] The ancient woodland of P. koraiensis on the earth is about 50 million hectares, and China has about 30 million hectares, accounting for 60%.[4] It is a second-class national key protected plant in China.[4] P. koraiensis is a tree species with high economic and ecological value. The official name in Chinese is "红松 hóng sōng/red pine", because almost every part of it is related to red.[5]

According to research, P. koraiensis can be divided into two natural types according to the thickness of the bark, namely Pinus koraiensis Sieb. et Zucc. f. pachidermis Wang et Chi and Pinus koraiensis Sieb. et Zucc. f. leptodermis Wang et Chi.[5]



P. koraiensis is a member of the white pine group, Pinus, section Quinquefoliae. Cultivated specimens may grow to about 9 to 15 m (30 to 50 ft) tall, whereas in their native habitat and growing conditions they can reach as much as 30 m (100 ft) or even 50 m (160 ft) in height.[6][5] It is pyramidal in shape, with younger specimens having ascending branches and older trees having more horizontal branches that reach ground level. The gray or brownish bark flakes off to reveal reddish inner bark. The sapwood is yellowish white, while the heartwood is light yellowish-brown or light reddish-brown.[5] The branchlets and winter buds are also reddish-brown.[5] The branches are lined with bundles of five blue-green needles, each up to 115 mm (4+12 in), and bear brown cones up to 150 mm (6 in) long.[6] In Northeast China, a particularly large cone is nearly 200 mm (7.9 in) long and 100 mm (3.9 in) in diameter. The seeds take two years of growth to mature, and the mature seeds do not fall off.[5] The cones release a strong scent that is so irresistible to animals that they help to open the hard cones allowing the seeds to disperse. The nutshells are reddish brown. P. koraiensis is monoecious with different flowers. Male cones are reddish-yellow, mostly clustered in the lower part of new branches to form spikes; female cones are green-brown, solitary or in groups near the top of new branches.[5] P. koraiensis can live up to 700 years; after 100–200 years of growth, it enters the fruitful youth stage, and after 300–400 years, it enters the fruitful adult stage.[4] The wild P. koraiensis grows very slowly, it takes fifty or even eighty years to bear fruit, and the cultivated P. koraiensis usually takes more than twenty years to bear fruit, but grafted seedlings can bear fruit within a few years.[4]



P. koraiensis is a precious tree species with both economic and ecological value. Ecologically, it has the functions of water and soil conservation - its root has a large water storage capacity, which is a "small reservoir" in the eyes of ecologists - and the function of maintaining biodiversity. Economically, every part of the plant can be used. In China, it has a long history of being used in food, beverage, health preservation and medical treatment. The ancients called its fruit "長壽果/longevity fruit".[5] The traditional Chinese medicine "海松子/sea-pine nut" refers to the seeds of P. koraiensis, which is a nourishing and strengthening agent.[5] At present, the high-tech industry of P. koraiensis has outstanding achievements in the fields of food, health products, medicine, cosmetics and fine chemicals.

The nuts of this tree are edible and sold commercially.[6] It is the most common taxon sold as pine nuts in markets throughout Europe and the United States.[1] The nut oil contains 11.5% of the unusual fatty acid pinolenic acid (cis–5–cis–9–cis–12 octadecatrienoic acid).[7] It "has a variety of physiological effects such as weight loss, lipid lowering, immune enhancement, anti-inflammation, anti-oxidation, enhancement of insulin sensitivity, and anti-tumor metastasis."[8] Pine nut oil extracted from P. koraiensis nuts has high nutritional value. The oil is also used to make lubricants and soap.[9] The tree is a source of turpentine resin and tannin.[1][10] The pine needles can be used to extract pine needle oil.

松花粉/Pine pollen is the dried pollen produced by the stamens. It is a traditional Chinese medicine and a traditional Chinese cooking ingredient. It is even used as the name of cakes or drinks, such as "松花糕/pine flower cake", "松花酒/pine flower wine" etc. ""中国预防医学科学院营养与食品卫生研究所/The Institute of Nutrition and Food Hygiene of the Chinese Academy of Preventive Medicine" has confirmed that pine pollen contains more than 200 nutritional components and bioactive substances, with anti-fatigue, anti-aging, regulating blood lipids, enhancing immunity, and beautifying five major health care functions".[11] ""国家体育总局运动医学研究所兴奋剂检测中心/The Doping Testing Center of the Institute of Sports Medicine of China" indicated that no ingredients banned by the Olympic Games were found in pine pollen".[11]

The Korean pine is used as an ornamental tree. It is tolerant of several soil types and thrives in urban settings. It is adapted to climates with very cold winters.[6] There are several cultivars, including the blue-tinged 'Glauca' and 'Silveray' and the wide-bodied 'Winton'.[12] The Korean pine is also a good tree species for afforestation in Northeast China.[4]

The wood is versatile and very useful for construction.[6] It is light, with straight grains, and easy to work. It is used for a great variety of products, including telephone poles, railroad ties, bridges, boats, plywood and flooring, furniture, sports equipment, and musical instruments. It is easy to break down into chips, particle board, or pulp for paper.[1] The fatwood used to be the best kindling in the forest area of Northeast China, and now it is a rare objet. The carvings or prayer beads made of it are collected or used like precious ancient objects.[4]



The value of P. koraiensis has led to overexploitation of wild populations of the tree, and destruction of the forest ecosystems in which it grows. The Siberian tiger is resident in these pine forests, and preservation of this tree species is one step in the conservation of the tiger.[1]

Other associates of the tree in nature include the spotted nutcracker (Nucifraga caryocatactes), which collects the seeds and plays an important role in their dispersal.[13]

In China, the ancient P. koraiensis forests are concentrated in the Paektu Mountain and Lesser Khingan areas, and are the building species of the natural forests in the northeast. Except for the pure P. koraiensis forests in some areas, most of them are mixed with other coniferous and broad-leaved tree species.[5] The broad-leaved-P. koraiensis forest preserves the ancient structural characteristics of the Tertiary plant community. It is a climax community in Northeast China, and its ecological value is extremely precious. It maintains ecological balance and ecological security in Northeast China.[4] Yichun located in Lesser Khingan has the most typical and best-preserved P. koraiensis virgin forest community in Asia.[14] Yichun has two national nature reserves, 丰林/Fenglin and 涼水/Liangshui, which specialize in the protection of P. koraiensis. Among them, Fenglin Nature Reserve has been included in the World Network of Biosphere Reserves" by UNESCO. The P. koraiensis virgin forest community in Yichun is an important gene pool of China's biodiversity. "There are more than 110 kinds of precious coniferous and broad-leaved trees, more than 60 kinds of large mammalian wild animals, and more than 270 kinds of birds, including 64 kinds of national first-class and second-class protected animals; there are 1390 kinds of plants, including more than 700 kinds of wild medicinal materials".[14] Since 2004, the logging of wild P. koraiensis trees has been completely prohibited in Yichun, and the existing P. koraiensis trees have been registered one by one for protection.[2]



  1. ^ a b c d e f Thomas, P.; Farjon, A. (2013). "Pinus koraiensis". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2013: e.T42373A2975987. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2013-1.RLTS.T42373A2975987.en. Retrieved 12 November 2021.
  2. ^ a b "告别"红松故事" 扮靓"红松故乡"" (in Chinese). www.yc.gov.cn. 2013-01-08. Retrieved 2023-01-25.
  3. ^ USDA, NRCS (n.d.). "Pinus koraiensis". The PLANTS Database (plants.usda.gov). Greensboro, North Carolina: National Plant Data Team.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g 刘玉波, 阎立波 (2020-01-07). "红松,东北"新三宝"之首" (in Chinese). www.forestry.gov.cn. Retrieved 2023-01-25.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "红松(hóng sōng)" (in Chinese). www.iplant.cn. Retrieved 2023-01-25.
  6. ^ a b c d e "Pinus koraiensis". Plant Finder. Missouri Botanical Garden.
  7. ^ Imbs, A. B.; Nevshupova, N. V.; Pham, L. Q. (1998). "Triacylglycerol composition of Pinus koraiensis seed oil" (PDF). Journal of the American Oil Chemists' Society. 75 (7): 865–870. doi:10.1007/s11746-998-0238-x. S2CID 83675599.
  8. ^ 李景彤, 刘迪迪, 王振宇 (2018). "红松子油及皮诺敛酸的研究进展/Research of P. koraiensis nut oil and pinolenic acid". 食品工業科技/Food Industry Technology (in Chinese). Retrieved 2023-01-27.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  9. ^ Fu, Liguo; Li, Nan; Elias, Thomas S.; Mill, Robert R. "Pinus koraiensis". Flora of China. Vol. 4 – via eFloras.org, Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
  10. ^ "Pinus koraiensis". Germplasm Resources Information Network. Agricultural Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture.
  11. ^ a b 日月峡 (2012-11-14). "关注了解红松" (in Chinese). www.riyuexia.com. Retrieved 2023-01-27.
  12. ^ "Pinus koraiensis". University of Connecticut Horticulture.
  13. ^ Hutchins, Harry E.; Hutchins, Susan A.; Liu, Bo-wen (1996). "The role of birds and mammals in Korean pine (Pinus koraiensis) regeneration dynamics". Oecologia. 107 (1): 120–130. Bibcode:1996Oecol.107..120H. doi:10.1007/BF00582242. PMID 28307199. S2CID 10822210.
  14. ^ a b 李忠培. "守护好伊春林区绿水青山 保护小兴安岭生物多样性" (in Chinese). 中国绿色时报. Retrieved 2023-01-26.