The Q&A Archives: What Is An Italian Stone Pine?

Question: My husband purchased a pair of decorated Italian Stone Pinetree seedlings from a charity. The tag on the trees told us very little about this tree. I was hoping you could fill us in a little on the care the tree needs, its size, etc.

Answer: Pinus pinea, Italian Stone Pine, is native to Southern Europe and Turkey. It is the source of pine nuts (pignolias) used in cooking. It grows at a moderate rate to 40-80 feet tall. When young, it's usually a bushy round shape; later it has a thick trunk with many umbrella shaped branches; in old age, it's more flat-topped. Cones are glossy, 4-6 inches in size and chestnut brown. This is a hardy pine that prefers full sun, withstands heat and aridity (note its native ground) when established. My reference says this tree appears in many Renaissance paintings; is excellent in beach gardens, but becomes too large for small gardens. Care for it as you would any pine, and it should perform well for you. Good luck!

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