Belfast Botanic Gardens Tree Archive

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This is one of a series of short articles about trees in the Belfast Botanic Gardens compiled by the Friends group. The tree tag number relates to the black tree maintenance tags, usually fixed on the tree trunk, 2 to 3m above ground level.
Family: Pinaceae
Pinus nigra subsp nigra
Austrian pine

Black tag 289
54o 34.901N
5o 55.817W

There are about 70 species of pines world-wide, mostly from the northern hemisphere. They can be quite difficult to distinguish from one another, but a basic division into 2-needled, 3-needled and 5-needled pines is a good starting point. Beyond that you need to look carefully at the cones and the winter buds. The example here is a 2-needled pine with needles about 4 inches (10cm) long. It has a whitish tinge to the winter buds which narrow to a sharp point. The cone scales have a tiny prickle on the ends - easier to feel than to see. The bark of the mature tree is always blackish (hence the name) and this distinguishes the species from the Scots pine (P. sylvestris) which has a distinct reddish colour to the upper trunk and branches when mature. The Austrian pine is a native of Corsica to Austria and W. Asia. While not native to the British Isles, it thrives in Northern Ireland. Unfortunately the timber is not of great value

There are several Austrian pines in the Botanic Gardens. The most dramatic (photo below) is near the gate to the PEC car park. There are also several others for example close to the Ulster Museum extension.

Pinus nigra in Belfast Botanic Gardens

Acuminate bud of Pinus nigra

A fine specimen of Austrian pine near the PEC entrance Acuminate bud characteristic of Austrian pine

Pinus nigra - spines on cone

Pinus nigra - needle sheaths
Small spine on cone of Austrian pine Long leaf sheath of Austrian pine
Pinus nigra branch Pinus nigra - stomata on needles
Needles of Austrian pine are in pairs, (longer than in Scots pine) Rows of stomata on the curved surface of Austrian pine needle

Photos taken in Belfast Botanic Gardens in 2008. Copyright: Friends of Belfast Botanic Gardens.

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