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Austrian Pine

Pinus nigra nigra

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Pinaceae (Pine)
Evergreen tree
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
25 metres tall
Gardens, heathland, parks, sand dunes, woodland.

Yellow, no petals
The female flowers are yellow and cone-shaped. Pale brown later. Wind pollinated.
Dark grey, hanging pine cones, covered in minute prickles. Up to 6cm long. The scales are rounded. The cones appear singly or in pairs. They open from December to April.
An evergreen tree with blackish bark. The dark green leaves (needles) are glossy, blackish, stiff, slightly twisted and spiny. They become curved with age. Up to 12cm long.
The flowers are fragrant.
Other Names:
Black Pine, Calabrian Pine, Corsican Pine, Larch Pine.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Pinus nigra nigra is a subspecies of Pinus nigra, also known as Austrian Pine. It is a large, evergreen coniferous tree that is native to Central and Southern Europe, including the Balkans, the Apennine and the Carpathians Mountains. It can grow up to 25 meters tall and can live up to 500 years. The tree has dark green needles, which are in groups of 2 or 3, and have a thick, dark and fissured bark. The tree is economically important for its wood, which is used for construction, paper production and other industrial purposes. It's also used for ornamental and reforestation purposes. The tree has a long history of traditional medicinal uses, such as treating respiratory issues and pain relief, but it's not recommended to use it for medicinal purposes without proper medical supervision.


The Austrian Pine, Pinus nigra nigra, is a coniferous tree native to Europe and western Asia. It is a member of the Pinaceae family, which includes other well-known trees such as the spruce, fir, and cedar. The Austrian Pine is a popular tree for landscaping due to its hardiness, attractive appearance, and ability to grow in a wide range of soil types.

Description and Habitat

The Austrian Pine is a medium to large-sized tree that typically grows to be between 50 and 80 feet tall, with a spread of 20 to 40 feet. It has a conical or pyramidal shape when young, and as it matures, it becomes more open and spreading. The tree has a dark brown to black bark that is deeply furrowed, and its needles are dark green and grow in pairs, each measuring about 3-6 inches long. The cones of the Austrian Pine are oval-shaped and grow to be about 2-4 inches long.

Austrian Pines can grow in a variety of soil types, from sandy to clay-like, and are tolerant of both acidic and alkaline soils. They prefer full sun and are hardy in USDA zones 4-7. They are also able to withstand drought and moderate levels of pollution, making them an excellent tree for urban areas.


The Austrian Pine has several uses, including landscaping, erosion control, and as a source of lumber. Due to its hardiness, it is a popular choice for windbreaks and screens. It is also used for Christmas tree production and as a timber tree in Europe.

In landscaping, the Austrian Pine is often used as a specimen tree due to its attractive shape and foliage. It is also used in parks, golf courses, and other large landscapes as a shade tree. The tree's dark bark and green needles create an attractive contrast, making it a desirable addition to many gardens.


The Austrian Pine is a relatively low-maintenance tree, requiring little pruning or care. However, it is susceptible to several diseases, including diplodia tip blight, a fungal disease that can cause the needles to turn brown and die. Regular pruning can help prevent the spread of disease and improve the tree's overall health.

When planting an Austrian Pine, it is important to ensure that the tree is given enough space to grow. It should be planted in well-draining soil and watered regularly during its first year to establish roots.

In conclusion, the Austrian Pine is a versatile and attractive tree that can be used in a variety of settings. Its hardiness and tolerance of various soil types make it an excellent choice for landscaping, while its timber and Christmas tree production make it a valuable resource. With proper care, the Austrian Pine can provide many years of enjoyment and beauty to any landscape.

More Information

The Austrian Pine has several cultivars that have been developed over the years. One popular cultivar is the 'Arnold Sentinel,' which has a narrow, columnar shape and is often used in urban areas as a screen or windbreak. Another cultivar, 'Green Tower,' has a similar shape and is also a good choice for small spaces or as an accent tree.

In addition to its uses in landscaping and forestry, the Austrian Pine also has cultural significance. In Austria, the tree is known as the Schwarzkiefer or "black pine," and its wood is used to make traditional folk instruments such as the zither and dulcimer.

The Austrian Pine is also an important tree in ecological restoration efforts. Due to its hardiness and ability to grow in harsh environments, it is often used to stabilize soil and prevent erosion in areas where other trees cannot thrive. It is also a valuable habitat for wildlife, providing food and shelter for a variety of species.

Like many tree species, the Austrian Pine is also affected by climate change. Warmer temperatures and changes in precipitation patterns can impact the tree's growth and survival. In some areas, the tree may also be threatened by pests such as the pine shoot beetle or the mountain pine beetle.

The Austrian Pine also has some medicinal properties. The needles of the tree contain high levels of Vitamin C, and are traditionally used in herbal remedies to treat colds, coughs, and respiratory issues. The resin of the tree is also used in traditional medicine to treat wounds and skin conditions.

In addition to its medicinal properties, the Austrian Pine is also a source of essential oils. The needles and twigs of the tree are distilled to produce an oil that is used in aromatherapy and in the manufacture of perfumes and soaps.

The Austrian Pine has also played a role in art and literature. The painter Vincent van Gogh created several works featuring the tree, including a painting titled "Avenue of Austrian Pines" and another called "Pine Trees with Figure in the Garden of Saint-Paul Hospital." The poet Robert Frost wrote a poem called "The Need of Being Versed in Country Things," which includes the line "the dark of the mind is the innermost Austrian pine."

The Austrian Pine has also been the subject of scientific study. Researchers have investigated the tree's genetics, growth patterns, and ecological interactions with other species. For example, a study published in the journal Forest Ecology and Management found that Austrian Pines planted in mixtures with other tree species had higher rates of growth and survival than those planted in monocultures.

The tree has also been the focus of research into climate change. A study published in the journal Global Change Biology found that warmer temperatures and changes in precipitation patterns could have significant impacts on the growth and survival of Austrian Pines in Europe. The researchers suggested that proactive management strategies, such as planting more drought-resistant tree species, may be needed to ensure the continued health of forests in the face of climate change.

The Austrian Pine has also been used in experiments on phytoremediation, the use of plants to remove pollutants from soil or water. A study published in the journal Water, Air, & Soil Pollution found that Austrian Pines were able to remove high levels of lead and cadmium from contaminated soil, suggesting that the tree could be used in efforts to clean up polluted environments.

In conclusion, the Austrian Pine is a fascinating and versatile tree that has been the subject of research in a wide range of fields. From genetics and ecology to medicine and phytoremediation, the tree's many uses and properties continue to be explored and studied. Whether appreciated for its beauty in a garden or valued for its role in ecological restoration or scientific research, the Austrian Pine is an important and enduring part of the natural world.


Austrian Pine filmed in Formby, Lancashire on the 17th March 2023.


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