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Pinus densiflora (アカマツ, Japanese red pine) description

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Line drawing from the Flora of China (Wu and Raven 1999).

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Decorative specimen rising by Inexperienced Lake, Seattle, Washington [C.J. Earle, 2017.01.28].

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Shoot of a decorative specimen (Seattle, WA) exhibiting foliage and twig [C.J. Earle, 1999.02.28].


Bark of a decorative specimen in Seattle (USA) [C.J. Earle, 1999.02.28].


Cone from a decorative specimen in Seattle (USA) [C.J. Earle, 2004.01.12].

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Tanyosho pine (a Pinus densiflora cultivar grafted to an unknown rootstock) at Inexperienced Lake, Seattle, Washington [C.J. Earle, 2017.01.28].

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Cones of the Tanyosho pine (a Pinus densiflora cultivar grafted to an unknown rootstock) at Inexperienced Lake, Seattle, Washington [C.J. Earle, 2017.01.28].


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Conservation status

Pinus densiflora

Siebold et Zuccarini 1842

Frequent names

アカマツ aka-matsu [Japanese] (Ohwi 1965); 赤松 [Chinese]; 소나무 [Korean]; Сосна густоцветная [Russian]; Japanese crimson pine.

Taxonomic notes

P. × densithunbergii Uyeki 1953 is the pure hybrid between P. densiflora and P. thunbergii. Synonym: P. densi-thunbergii Uyeki 1926. See Pinus thunbergii for additional dialogue of this nothospecies.

There are Three types of P. densiflora:

  • Pinus densiflora var. densiflora (syn: P. densiflora var. brevifolia Liou et Q.L. Wang; P. densiflora var. funebris (Komarov) Liou et Q.L. Wang ex Silba; P. densiflora f. liaotungensis (Liou et Q.L. Wang) Kitagawa; P. densiflora var. liaotungensis Liou et Q.L. Wang; P. funebris Komarov; P. scopifera Miquel.) (Wu and Raven 1999).
  • Pinus densiflora var. ussuriensis Liou et Q.L. Wang 1958 (syn: P. densiflora f. ussuriensis (Liou et Q.L. Wang) Kitagawa; P. takahasii Nakai (Wu and Raven 1999).
  • Pinus densiflora var. zhangwuensis S.J. Zhang et al. 1995 (Wu and Raven 1999).

Wu and Raven (1999) present a key to the varieties and descriptions of every.


A straight to contorted (notably in coastal settings) tree as much as 36m tall, with an open, irregular or umbrella-shaped crown. Decrease branches shed early even in open settings. Bark red-brown, in massive plates (on previous bushes) or flaky and papery. Branches grey-green, quickly turning into clean with age, growing papery reddish bark. Leaves inexperienced, pliable, 2 per fascicle, sheaths retained, 8-12 cm lengthy, 0.7-1.2 mm vast, acute, with minute marginal enamel, stomata in strains on all surfaces; retained in bunches at ends of twigs. Pollen cones small, ellipsoidal, pale yellow or yellow-brown, at finish of shoots. Seed cones conic-ovoid, tan to golden brown, 4-7 cm lengthy, in whorls of 2-5 at department nodes, remaining closed and hooked up for a number of years, on a 1-Three mm lengthy considerably versatile peduncle. Cone scales: about 50 scales might include fertile seed; cuneate, the uncovered half flattened, rhomboidal with a central, short-mucronate umbo; the hid half a darkish red-brown. Seeds with hooked up wing 10-17 mm lengthy (Ohwi 1965, Farjon 1984).

In Japan, this species resembles P. thunbergii, which differs most prominently in having longitudinally fissured bark on previous bushes.

Distribution and Ecology

China (Shandong, Jiangsu), Korea, Japan (S Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoko, Kyushu), and Russia: uncommon in southern Ussuriland on rocky slopes at 0-500 m or sandy soils, seashores, Khanka Lake islands (Harkevich and Kachura 1981, Vladimir Dinets e-mail 1998.01.10). Var. funebris present in Korea; China & Russia: Manchuria, N Ussuriland and Amur Valley (Vladimir Dinets e-mail 1998.01.10), the place it grows from sea degree to 600 m (Farjon 1984). It happens from the coast into the decrease mountains, generally reaching to 2300 m elevation (Ohwi 1965, Farjon 1984). Hardy to Zone 5 (chilly hardiness restrict between -28.8°C and -23.3°C) (Bannister and Neuner 2001; selection not specified).

Fires sometimes kill bushes of Pinus densiflora, however it might probably rapidly set up and attain dominance within the aftermath of a extreme hearth. Probably as a consequence of this regeneration potential, it’s also a very good instance of a species that has been favored by human disturbance; in Japan, it was an unusual species earlier than about 2500 BP, when human disturbance was minimal and extreme fires have been rare. Pink pine turns into distinguished within the fossil pollen report at concerning the time that agriculture turns into widespread, and its unfold in Japan is strongly correlated with the rise of agriculture (Agee 1998, Kremenetsi et al. 1998).

Massive tree




Traditionally, this has been some of the necessary species utilized in Japanese structure. The principal structural woods in most surviving constructions of the Muromachi interval (14th to 16th Centuries) and the Edo interval (1603-1867) are Pinus densiflora and P. thunbergii, though surviving constructions additionally include quite a lot of Chamaecyparis obtusa (Takao 2004).

Moreover following agriculture as a ‘weedy’ species, it’s also one of many extra in style decorative pines, used as such in Japan since historical instances and now extensively planted in Europe and North America.



The epithet means “densely flowered” and should check with the closely-set pollen cones (Farjon 2010).

I’ve seen a decorative cultivar, ‘umbraculifera’, that bears small (3-Four cm lengthy) cones in whorled clusters of 20-30 cones.


Agee, J. 1998. Hearth and pine ecosystems, pp. 193-218 in Richardson 1998.

Farjon, Aljos. 2010. A Handbook of the World’s Conifers. Leiden, Netherlands: Brill Tutorial Publishers.

Harkevich, S. and N. Kachura. 1981. Uncommon Plant Species of The Soviet Far East and Their Conservation. Nauka, Moscow (in Russian).

Kremenetsi et al. 1998. Late Quaternary dynamics of pines in northern Asia, pp. 95-106 in Richardson 1998.

Li De-Zhu. 1997. A reassessment of Pinus subgen. Pinus in China. Edinburgh Journal of Botany 54(3): 337-349.

Siebold, P.F. von and J.G. Zuccarini. 1842. Flora Japonica sive plantae, … Leiden. Vol. 2(3), p. 22, t. 112.

Takao, Itoh. 2004. Architectural improvement of the Japanese home and wooden species used for building., accessed 2009.08.24, now defunct.

See additionally

Elwes and Henry 1906-1913 on the Biodiversity Heritage Library. This sequence of volumes, privately printed, offers a number of the most participating descriptions of conifers ever revealed. Though they solely deal with species cultivated within the U.Ok. and Eire, and the taxonomy is a bit dated, nonetheless these accounts are thorough, treating such subjects as species description, vary, varieties, exceptionally previous or tall specimens, exceptional bushes, and cultivation. Regardless of being over a century previous, they’re typically correct, and are illustrated with some exceptional images and lithographs.

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