Pinus nigra subsp. nigra

Austrian pine

Family: Pinaceae
54º 34.901N
5º 55.817W

The tree tag number relates to the black tree-maintenance tags, usually fixed on the trunk, 2 to 3m above ground level.

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.

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