Gardening Magazine

Pinus Thunbergii

By Davis Landscape Architecture @DavisLandArch

Pinus thunbergii (01/04/2015, Tokyo, Japan)

Pinus thunbergii (01/04/2015, Tokyo, Japan)

Position: Full sun to light shade

Soil: Moist, well drained

Flowering period: Spring

Eventual Height: 40m

Eventual Spread: 20m

Hardiness: 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b, 10a

Family: Pinaceae

Pinus thunbergii is an evergreen tree with a conical habit that becomes more domed with age. Its dark green leaves are needle like, up to 12cm long, 2mm across and appear in pairs. Its grey/ black bark is rough and scaly. Its trunk may achieve a diameter of up to 2m. Its flowers are monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female on the same plant) and are wind pollinated. Its fruit are ovoid cones, up to 6cm long and 4cm across.

Pinus thunbergii Leaf (01/04/2015, Tokyo, Japan)

Pinus thunbergii Leaf (01/04/2015, Tokyo, Japan)

Pinus thunbergii, commonly known as the Japanese Black Pine, Black Pine or Kuromatsu, is native to coastal regions of Japan and south Korea. In Japan this tree is used for Niwaki and Bonsai. It should be noted that this tree has recently been under attack by the North American pinewood nemetode (Bursaphelenchus xylophilus) and blue stain fungus (Ophiostoma minus).

The etymological root of the binomial name Pinus is from the ancient Latin name for the Pine tree. Thunbergii is named after Carl Peter Thunberg (1743-1828), a Swedish botanist and physician.

The landscape architect may find Pinus thunbergii useful as an urban tree due to its pollution and salt tolerance. Once established this tree is drought tollerant.

Ecologically, Pinus thunbergii seed is attractive to some birds and mammals.

Pinus thunbergii Bark (01/04/2015, Tokyo, Japan)

Pinus thunbergii Bark (01/04/2015, Tokyo, Japan)

Pinus thunbergii prefers moist, humus rich, well-drained soils. It tolerates most pH of soil.

The Royal Horticultural Society have given the variety Pinus thunbergii ‘Thunderhead’ their prestigious Award of Garden Merit in 2012.

Pinus thunbergii requires little maintenance. This tree is extremely tolerant of pruning.

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