Pinus koraiensis

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Pinus koraiensis
Pinus koraiensis.jpg
Cultivated at Morton Arboretum
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
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 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.[2]


It is a member of the white pine group, Pinus, section Quinquefoliae. In its native habitat and growing conditions it can reach 30 m (100 ft) in height. Cultivated specimens may grow up to 15 m (50 ft) tall.[3] It is pyramidal in shape, younger specimens with ascending branches and older trees with more horizontal branches that reach ground level. The gray or brownish bark flakes off to reveal reddish inner bark. Its 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.[3]

Uses and conservation[edit]

The nuts of this tree are edible and sold commercially.[3] 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).[4] The oil is used to make lubricants and soap.[5] The tree is also a source of turpentine resin and tannin.[1][6]

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.[3] There are several cultivars, including the blue-tinged 'Glauca' and 'Silveray' and the wide-bodied 'Winton'.[7]

The wood is versatile and very useful for construction.[3] 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] Its value 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.[8]



  1. ^ a b c d e f Thomas, P.; Farjon, A. (2013). "Pinus koraiensis". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2013. Retrieved 28 April 2017.
  2. ^ "Pinus koraiensis". Natural Resources Conservation Service PLANTS Database. USDA.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Pinus koraiensis". Plant Finder. Missouri Botanical Garden.
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ Fu, Liguo; Li, Nan; Elias, Thomas S.; Mill, Robert R. "Pinus koraiensis". Flora of China. 4 – via, Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
  6. ^ "Pinus koraiensis". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
  7. ^ "Pinus koraiensis". University of Connecticut Horticulture.
  8. ^ 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.

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