Family: Italian Stone Pine or Umbrella Pine
This native of Southern Europe has been long used in cultivation beyond 1500 years for its edible seeds. A famous forest exists near the Adriatic coast called Ravenna that covers an area 26km by 1.5km wide. Dante described the forest as ‘la Davina foresta spessa e viva’ translating to ‘the divine forest, dense and green’ (Purgatorio, xxviii, line 2).
The majestic nature of this tree’s broad, almost mushroom like canopy, brings a distinctively different form to many landscapes. The attractiveness of this pine is distinguished by its large clear-trunk and a strongly defined umbrella shaped canopy and intense red bark at maturity. Creates a fantastic avenue, even when closely spaced and best used on broad sites.
Prefers well-drained and slightly acidic soils to establish well. Not suitable for alkaline soils. Strong aerial salt tolerance makes it suitable for maritime plantings.
Widely planted in the nineteenth century within South Eastern Australia and surprisingly little since, considering the trees visual and tolerance qualities. A very useful planting element within historic landscape recreations.
Good examples can be seen in Victoria Park (Kew Victoria); Scotch College (Adelaide) and Government House (Hobart).
Typical mature height: 25m variable
Useful in: Broad road verges, parks, near coastal planting.
Sites for best growth: well-drained, slightly acidic soils