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Maritime Pine

Pinus pinaster

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Pinaceae (Pine)
Evergreen tree
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
35 metres tall
Mountains, sand dunes, scrub, seaside, woodland.

Yellow, no petals
The male yellow flowers (up to 8cm long and 5cm wide) are cone shaped and full of pollen. They are arranged in oval clusters at the end of the shoots. The brown female flowers are also conical in shape and appear at the end of the shoots.
The fruit are shiny, brown pine cones. They are longer than those of the similar-looking Scots Pine (Pinus sylvestris), up to 20cm. The pine cones may remain on the tree for many years.
An evergreen tree with reddish-brown bark. The stiff leaves (needles) appear in pairs. They are very broad and reach up to 25cm in length. The buds are curved at their tips. The needles are paler and longer than those of Scots Pine. They are also twisted.
Smells resinous.
Other Names:
Cluster Pine, European Turpentine, Mauritius Pine, Pinaster, Seaside Pine, Star Pine.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Pinus pinaster, commonly known as maritime pine or cluster pine, is a species of evergreen coniferous tree in the Pinaceae family. It is native to the Mediterranean region and western Europe, and can be found in a variety of habitats such as coastal dunes, forests, and scrublands. The tree can grow up to 100 feet tall and has a distinctive dark green needles that grow in clusters of two. The tree is economically important for its wood, which is used for construction, paper production and other industrial purposes. The tree's resin has been traditionally used for medicinal purposes, such as treating respiratory issues and skin conditions, but there is limited scientific evidence to support these uses. It's also used for ornamental and reforestation purposes.


Maritime Pine, scientifically known as Pinus pinaster, is a species of pine tree that is commonly found in the coastal regions of western Europe, North Africa, and the Iberian Peninsula. This tree is known for its numerous medicinal properties, as well as its commercial and ecological importance.

The Maritime Pine tree is a tall and slender tree that can grow up to 30-35 meters in height. It has a distinctive bark that is reddish-brown in color and deeply furrowed. The needles of the tree are long, slender, and bluish-green in color. The tree produces cones that are about 10-20 cm in length and are typically conical or cylindrical in shape.

One of the most well-known properties of Maritime Pine is its high content of a powerful antioxidant called proanthocyanidins, which are also found in red wine and dark chocolate. These antioxidants are believed to have numerous health benefits, including improving circulation, reducing inflammation, and supporting healthy skin. In fact, extracts from the bark of the Maritime Pine tree are used in many health supplements and skin care products.

The Maritime Pine tree also has a long history of use in traditional medicine. Its bark was traditionally used by the indigenous people of North Africa and Europe for treating a wide range of ailments, including fevers, scurvy, and rheumatism. The resin of the tree was also used as a natural adhesive and was used in shipbuilding and other construction projects.

In addition to its medicinal properties, the Maritime Pine tree is also important for its commercial and ecological value. The wood of the tree is commonly used in construction and furniture making, as well as for paper pulp and fuelwood. The tree is also important for its ability to stabilize sandy soils along coastal regions, preventing erosion and promoting biodiversity.

The Maritime Pine tree has a wide range of ecological benefits that make it an important species for maintaining the health of forest ecosystems. Its deep and extensive root system helps to anchor soil and prevent erosion, making it especially valuable in areas with sandy or unstable soils. The tree is also a key source of food and habitat for a variety of wildlife species, including birds, insects, and small mammals.

In addition to its ecological benefits, the Maritime Pine tree is also an important economic resource for many countries. The wood of the tree is commonly used for construction, furniture making, and paper pulp production. The bark of the tree is also harvested for its high content of proanthocyanidins, which are used in a variety of health supplements and skin care products.

The use of Maritime Pine bark extract in health supplements is particularly popular due to its potent antioxidant properties. Antioxidants help to protect the body from free radicals, which are harmful molecules that can damage cells and contribute to the development of chronic diseases. Proanthocyanidins are also believed to have anti-inflammatory properties, which may help to reduce the risk of certain inflammatory conditions such as arthritis and cardiovascular disease.

Research has also suggested that Maritime Pine bark extract may have neuroprotective properties and may help to improve cognitive function in older adults. Studies have shown that taking a supplement containing Maritime Pine bark extract may improve memory, attention, and overall cognitive performance.

The Maritime Pine tree has also been studied for its potential in phytoremediation, which is the use of plants to remove pollutants from soil and water. This is due to the tree's ability to tolerate high levels of salt and drought, making it a suitable species for planting in areas with degraded soils or contaminated water sources.

In addition, the Maritime Pine tree is also an important species for the tourism industry. Its attractive appearance, with its tall and slender form and distinctive reddish-brown bark, makes it a popular sightseeing destination in coastal regions of Europe and North Africa. It is also often used in landscaping and urban forestry, providing shade and aesthetic value in parks, gardens, and other public spaces.

In terms of conservation, efforts are underway to protect populations of the Maritime Pine tree and restore degraded habitats where the species has been lost. In some areas, such as the coastal sand dunes of France and Portugal, planting programs are in place to stabilize soil and prevent further erosion. These programs also aim to promote biodiversity by providing habitat for a variety of plant and animal species.

In addition to its many benefits, the Maritime Pine tree also plays an important role in the carbon cycle. As a coniferous tree, it is a natural carbon sink, absorbing and storing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through the process of photosynthesis. The tree's extensive root system also helps to sequester carbon in the soil, making it an important tool for mitigating the effects of climate change.

Furthermore, the Maritime Pine tree has been shown to have a positive impact on human well-being. Studies have found that spending time in forests and other natural environments can have a range of benefits for mental and physical health, including reduced stress and improved mood. This has led to the development of a practice known as "forest therapy," which involves spending time in natural environments to improve overall health and well-being.

The Maritime Pine tree is also an important cultural symbol in many regions where it is found. In Portugal, for example, the tree is known as the "pinheiro manso," and is a symbol of national identity and pride. The tree has been used in traditional Portuguese crafts, such as basket weaving and furniture making, and is also a key ingredient in traditional Portuguese cuisine.

Overall, the Maritime Pine tree is a fascinating and important species with a wide range of benefits for human and environmental health. As the world faces increasing challenges from climate change, habitat loss, and other environmental threats, the tree's ecological and economic benefits are becoming increasingly important, highlighting the need for continued conservation efforts to protect this valuable species.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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