Rachy Ramone's picture

Unknown 2-needle Pine

Observed: 23rd March 2013 By: Rachy RamoneRachy Ramone is knowledgeable about PlantsRachy Ramone’s earned reputation in PlantsRachy Ramone’s earned reputation in PlantsRachy Ramone’s earned reputation in PlantsRachy Ramone’s earned reputation in Plants
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Description:

I'm stumped by this one!
Medium sized evergreen tree, but multi-stemmed with the base covered in ivy. It is possible that it was chopped/damaged at an early stage, as it is on a roadside verge, next to a footpath.
Needles in pairs, 3" (7-8cms)shiny on the outside, grooved on the inside: clear bright green, minutely serrulate. Fascicles long, nearly half an inch (1cm).
Cones just over 1" in length (2cms), scales centrally ridged so they feel "knobbly" but not prickles.
Buds long - 7/10ths ", or about 1.8 cms - smoothly pointed, pointed scales, brown in colour but with a resinous scurfy "skin".
Foliage in "spurts" along the branches, not evenly distributed at all. Think this might be called "layered foliage", not sure.
Bark dark brown to blackish, cracked in rounded plates,
Overall shape rounded, branches ascending: a little hard to be certain of shape as it is multi-stemmed.
Keys out in Mitchell as P. nigra var nigra but there are several features that don't match, ie shape of buds not abruptly pointed, shoots not shiny, leaves not "nearly black", and the cones are way, way too small.
Considered P. mugo, due to the multi-stemming, but that does not have layered foliage, the buds on this one are too large, and the leaves don't seem dark enough.
Any suggestions, anyone?

Identifications
Species interactions

No interactions present.

Species with which Dwarf Mountain Pine (Pinus mugo) interacts

Comments

David Jardine's picture

P. mugo?

My first reaction was Mountain Pine - P mugo

All the best

miked's picture

When looking at trees you

When looking at trees you might want to have a go at using http://www.treezilla.org/ which is a new project from the ispot group. Hopefully over time there will be some experts looking at observations on there too. One difference from ispot is that you need the exact location and it also calculates the 'ecosystem services' provided by the tree. Unfortunately these ecosystem services depend on having a name for the tree as the calculations are based on the species and size of tree.

steve_t's picture

Pinus mugo uncinata

The subspecies Pinus mugo uncinata can have annual whorls of leaves separated by bare stem. Mitchell describes it with this growth pattern, under its synonym Pinus uncinata, in the Forestery Commission Booklet 33, Conifers in the British Isles - A Descriptive Handbook, 1972.

Steve.

David Jardine's picture

Gaps in pine foliage

The gaps in the pine foliage (causing the whorls) is because this is where the male cones occur - these are deciduous once the pollen has been released and hence the big gaps between the whorls of needles - it can also be seen in the lower branches of other pines eg Scots Pine - with the female cones concentrated at the top of the tree. So the whorling in itself is not a key character for P mugo, but the needle size and structure and the branching pattern is pointing towards it. The bud appears to exclude Lodgepole Pine which can be very variable, some forms of which have a shrubby habit.

All the best

Rachy Ramone's picture

Thank you, all.

P. mugo: I did consider it, David, but rejected it on bud size and foliage colour. Although this specimen does have the needles grooved on the inside... I don't as yet know if many other pines have this feature: I am planning to read all the pine descriptions in Mitchell, when I get an afternoon spare!

Mike, thank you for that link, I've had a quick look (slow, clunky and empty is my first impression, but I'll give it another look later!) but I have to say that in my work, I would look at the location last, not first, as a) many trees are planted, ie not in their natural range, and b)it leads to expectations, whereas I have to assess and ID what's there, not what I expect to find there. If you see what I mean.

Steve, thank you for that - I don't have Mitchell's conifer guide, just his field guide, in which he decribes P. mugo/uncinata as having whorled foliage, but the drawing shows bushy non-gappy foliage. I will have to do a bit more research on that aspect.

Thanks again, and any further comments most welcome.

Rachy Ramone

How to take close-ups with cheap phone and hand-lens:
http://tree-and-shrub-id.blogspot.co.uk/p/how-to-close-ups.html
Field Guides for Budding Botanists:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B01A8YB0WY

gramandy's picture

how about....

P.pinaster maritime pine? Just really going on trunk and bark mainly, 2 needled.

Rachy Ramone's picture

Not Maritime ...

...the needles are far too short, as they are only to 3" (7-8cms) whereas to be Maritime they would need to be longer than 4" and up to 10" !!

But thanks anyway, it is starting to look as though it's a P. mugo but I'm hoping to get more information as the day passes.

Rachy Ramone

How to take close-ups with cheap phone and hand-lens:
http://tree-and-shrub-id.blogspot.co.uk/p/how-to-close-ups.html
Field Guides for Budding Botanists:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B01A8YB0WY