Scots Pine (Pinus sylvestris
) is an evergreen conifer that can live up to 700 years.
It is native to the UK and can be found across Europe and Asia.
Scots Pine usually grow up to 25 metres in height with a 1 metre trunk diameter when mature. Occasionally they to 35 - 45 metres tall.
The bark is thick, scaly dark grey-brown on the lower trunk, and thin, flaky and orange on the upper trunk and branches.
The lifespan is normally 150–300 years, with the oldest recorded specimens (in Sweden) just over 700 years.
The shoots are light brown, with a spirally arranged scale-like pattern. On mature trees the leaves ('needles') are a blue-green, often darker green to dark yellow-green in winter, 2.5 - 5 cm long..
The seed cones are red at pollination, then pale brown and 4 - 8 mm in diameter in their first year, expanding to full size in their second year. At Maturity the cones are green, then grey-green to yellow-brown and 3 - 7.5 cm in length.
The seeds inside the cones are released when the cones open in spring, 22 - 24 months after pollination.
The pollen cones are yellow, occasionally pink, 8–12 mm long; pollen release is in mid to late spring.
Scots Pine is typically grown for its strong, softwood timber that's used in the construction industry. They're also used to make telegraph poles.
Mythology and symbolism
It is believed that Druids used Scots Pine to make winter solstice fires in order to draw back the sun. The resin and needles were burnt as incense to supposedly get rid of evil.