Pinus tabuliformis / Chinese red pine

subgenus Pinus, section, Pinus, subsection Pinus. This is one of the “classic” old-world, 2-needled, hard pines.

Pinus tabuliformis, as described in 1867 by Elie-Abel Carrière (1818–1896), in Traité général des conifères, is commonly known as Chinese red pine; 油松 (you song) in the Chinese language. This tree's broadly dome-shaped to flattened crown is the source of the species name, meaning "table-shaped" in the Latin language.

Ethnobotany. The timber is used for construction, poles, mine timber, ship building, and furniture. The trunk can be used as a source of resin, the bark for tannin, and the needles for medicine.

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Description. Chinese red pine is an evergreen, coniferous species of tree that grows to mature heights of 80 feet (25 m) tall; with a trunk to over 3 feet (1 m) in diameter, measured at breast height; and a broadly dome-shaped to flattened crown.

  • Bark is scaly, and colored grayish brown or dark gray.
  • First-year branchlets are light grayish brown, light brown, or yellowish brown in color; thick, with a glabrous texture.
  • Foliar buds are oblong shaped and slightly resinous.
  • Leaves (needles) borne in fascicles of 2 (sometimes 3), colored dark green, semiorbicular in cross section, measuring 2.4 to 6 inches (6 - 15 cm) long by 0.04 to 0.06 inch (1 - 1.5 mm), and a base with persistent sheath that is initially 0.4 to 0.8 inch (1 - 2 cm) long.
  • Pollen cones measure 0.2 to 0.36 inch (5 - 9 mm) long and yellowish brown in color.
  • Seed cones are held on short peduncles, initially green, turning yellowish brown to brown at maturity. They are ovoid to ovoid-globose shaped, measuring 1 to 3.6 inches (2.5 - 9 cm) long by 1.6 to 3.6 inches (4 - 9 cm) broad and usually persistent for a few years on the tree.
  • Seed scales are suboblong-obovate shaped, measuring 0.64 to 0.8 inch (1.6 - 2 cm) by circa 0.56 inch (1.4 cm). Apophyses are swollen, with a broadly or irregularly rhombic outline, ridged or not, and cross keeled. Umbos protrude into a spine.
  • Seeds are pale brown in color and mottled; ovoid shaped or narrowly so; measuring 0.24 to 0.32 inch (6 - 8 mm) long by 0.16 to 0.2 inch (4 - 5 mm) wide with a 0.6 to 0.72 inch (1.5-1.8 cm) wing. Pollination takes place in Apr and May; seed maturity is in October of the second 2nd year.
natural range of <em>Pinus tabuliformis </em>
natural range of Pinus tabuliformis

Distribution. This species is native to China and Korea. The type variety recorded from China — Gansu, Hebei, Liaoning, Ningxia, Beijing, Shanxi, and Shaanx provinces, growing in hills and mountains at elevations of 350 to 8,500 feet (100 - 2,600 m) above sea level.

Hardy to Zone 5 — cold hardiness limit between -20° and -10°F (-28.8°C and -23.3°C).

Attribution from: Wu Zheng-yi and Peter H. Raven (editors); Flora of China, Volume 4; ©1999, Science Press, Beijing; Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis.

Photo record donated by Richard and Susan Eyre.
Photo by Rich's Foxwillow Pines Nursery, Inc
Pinus tabuliformis growing in a park in China.
Photo by Fanghong - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikipedia Commons
Pinus tabuliformis growing in habitat in Hua Shan, Shaanxi, China.
Photo by Lanz via Flickr
Pinus tabuliformis — bark detail.
Photo by C.J. Earle
Pinus tabuliformis — foliage and seed cone detail.
Photo by C.J. Earle
Pinus tabuliformis with the Great Wall of China in the background. Badaling, China.
Photo by Wandering Angel at Flickr - Flickr, CC BY 2.0, Wikipedia Commons
Pinus tabuliformis — foliage and pollen cone detail.
Photo by BioLib.cz

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