Austrian pine

Pin noir d'Autriche

Pinus nigra ArnoldPinaceae (pine family)

Origin: Europe


Austrian pine is a large coniferous tree with a straight trunk.

Read more about Tree, Bark, Twigs


Leaves are long, stiff, dark green needles with sharp tips, in bundles of 2.

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Pollen cones

Pollen cones are small, yellowish, borne in clusters at the tips of branches.

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Seed cones

Seed cones are brown and woody when mature, borne in clusters of 1 to 4.

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Austrian pine is a large coniferous tree reaching up to 30 m (100') in height, with a straight trunk up to 1.5 - 2 m (5' - 6') in diameter.

Young trees are cone-shaped with a rounded crown (shown above). As the tree ages the crown becomes broad and irregular (see photo at left).

Bark has dark vertical furrows and ranges from dark grey to dark brown or even black.

Buds are 10 - 18 mm (about 1/2") long, cylindrical, pointed, and often covered in a white resin.

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Leaves are stiff, dark green needles, 8 - 16 cm (3" - 6") long, with sharp tips.

Needles are in bundles of 2.

Pairs of needles are enclosed by a small sheath where they attach to the twig.

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Pollen cones

Pollen cones are small, 20 - 30 mm (3/4" - 1") long, yellowish, borne in clusters at the tips of branches below the newly emerging needles.

As they mature the pollen cones elongate, shed pollen, then drop off.

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Seed cones

Seed cones are borne in spring at the tips of new branches, emerging as tiny pink cones.

After pollination but before they mature, the tightly closed seed cones are green. Clusters of up to 4 cones are borne at right angles to the branch.

When mature, the scales of the brown, woody, 5 - 8 cm (2" - 3") long cones, open to release the winged seed.

Cone scales have a small prickle on the outer side.

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Austrian pine ranges from southern Europe to Asia Minor, with pockets in Northwest Africa. It was introduced to North America around 1759. There are numerous cultivated varieties, so form and appearance may differ slightly from tree to tree.

Derivation of names

The species name nigra is from the Latin for black, a reference to the bark, which is often black. The common name Austrian pine likely derives from its native range while the alternate common name, black pine, is based on its Latin name.

Commercial use

Austrian pine is an important timber species in central and southern Europe, especially in construction. It has long been planted as an ornamental tree and North American homesteaders planted it as windbreaks. It has also been used for reforestation.

Related species

Austrian pine may be confused with the native red pine (Pinus resinosa) because both species bear pairs of long straight needles. The two species can most easily be distinguished by their cones and bark. Austrian pine cones have scales with prickles while red pine cones do not. Austrian pine bark is dark grey, brown, or black, with dark furrows, while red pine bark is pinkish-red with flat, scaly plates.

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Austrian pine IN TORONTO

Austrian pine's place in Toronto's urban forest

Austrian pine has been widely planted in Toronto parks, and along GTA highways because it is hardy and tolerant of urban stresses like salt spray and air pollution. It is a fast-growning tree and is very effective as a visual screen and windbreak, or as an ornamental or specimen tree.

Landscape value and potential for home planting

Austrian pine can grow to be a large, broad tree with deep roots and is therefore unsuitable for small spaces. It is hardy and transplants well. It grows best in sunny sites.

Pests and diseases: Austrian pine is susceptible to Dothistroma needle blight which first appears as spots or bands on the needles and eventually kills them. This disease attacks all pines but Austrian pine is particularly susceptible. For more information see Natural Resources Canada factsheet.

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WHERE CAN I SEE Austrian pine?

Find trees on Tree Tour maps at Canadian Tree Tours:

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