Pinus sylvestris 'Green Penguin' / Green Penguin Scots pine

Pinus sylvestris 'Green Penguin' is a dense, rich-green cone of needles which produces curious "flowers" of juvenile foliage in the late summer each year. Typical annual growth rate is 3 to 5 inches (7.5 - 12.5 cm), producing a 4 foot (1.3 m) tall by 18 inch (45 cm) wide dwarf tree after ten years.

Jim Lewis, now of J. Farms, Amity, Oregon discovered the original plant in a flat of Scots pine seedlings in the late 1990s while working at a nursery in Park Rapids, Minnesota. In an interview with David Olszyk, Jim stressed how hardy the tree is, having withstood the coldest winters Minnesota can offer. He recalled holding up the seedling, asking his co-workers if he should keep it or toss it out as compost. He was glad to have kept it as it is now the "crown jewel" of the plants he produces at his current nursery.

'Green Penguin' is a fine selection for the dwarf conifer garden. It stays small for a long time and holds it color well through the winter when similar cultivars like 'Moseri' and 'Globosa Viridis' will turn yellow or fade.

Pinus sylvestris 'Green Penguin' at J Farms Grafting display garden. This is the original plant. It is now 15 years old and is approximately 6 feet tall by 4 feet wide at the base.
Photo by David Olszyk
Close up of the original plant at J Farms grafting showing the juvenile growth flowers produced each year.
Photo by David Olszyk
a row of 'Green Penguins' standing proud at J. Farms, Amity, OR. Cute.
Photo by Jenni Burkhead


Terry Covington

Hi, I am the secretary for a local environmental group in Clark County, WA, called NatureScaping of SW Washington. Our all-volunteer organization cares for 10 demonstration gardens on 3 acres of land called the Wildlife Botanical Gardens. I post photos from the gardens on our Facebook page. One of our readers wanted to know where the name, Green Penguin, came from, and I wondered if you could enlighten us? There is a thriving Green Penguin in our Entrance Perennials Garden - a beautiful little tree! Thanks so much for your help!

Maxwell Cohn

I've talked with Jim in the past. He thinks mature plants look like green penguins, hence the name.