Stone pine, Italian stone pine, umbrella pine, parasol pine (Eng), pino piñonero, pino doncel, pino real (Spa), pi pinyer, pi pinyoner (Cat), pinazi pinua (Baq), piñeiro manso (Glg), pinheiro-manso (Por).
“This was the stone-pine, which produces an excellent almond, very much esteemed in the temperate regions of America and Europe. These pine nuts were in a perfect state of maturity...”
‘The Mysterious Island’, Jules Verne
This pine is characterised by its form, which is parasol or umbrella-shaped, and its large globose cones that measure 8-15 cm in length by 7-10 cm in width, and which sit on the twigs. The cones also house large pine nuts, up to 2 cm in size, which do not have a membranous wing, unlike other related species. It can be up to 30 m tall and its bark is divided into large, thick plates which are reddish in colour. The leaves are acicular in shape, and occur in twos. They are 10-15 cm in length, although they can be as long as 20 cm.
The stone pine grows together with holm oaks, cork oaks and maritime pines, but more often forms extensive pure forests, where the crowns join together forming a dense, closed canopy. It prefers to be close to the coast, but it will also live in loose, sandy soils in the interior of the peninsula, wherever the climate is not too severe. It grows from sea level up to an altitude of 1000 m. As Jean-Marie Pelt wrote in Plants. Loves and vegetable civilisations: “The stone pine, inseparable from the Mediterranean landscapes, that evokes ancient Rome, its landscapes, its gardens, its forums…”
It lives in southern Europe, and southwestern Asia. It is occurs naturally throughout the Iberian Peninsula, particularly in the centre, south and east, although there are also cultivated populations in many places.