Turkish Pine

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Turkish Pine
Conservation status: Secure
Missing image

Turkish Pine foliage and cones
Scientific classification
Species:P. brutia

Template:Taxobox section binomial botany

The Turkish Pine (Pinus brutia) is a pine native to the eastern Mediterranean region. The bulk of its range is in Turkey, but it also extends to the East Aegean Islands of Greece, the Crimea, Georgia, Azerbaijan, northern Iraq, western Syria, Lebanon, and Cyprus. It generally occurs at low altitudes, mostly from sea level to 600 m, up to 1200 m in the south of its range.

It is a medium-size tree, reaching 20-35 m tall and with a trunk diameter of up to 1 m, exceptionally 2 m. The bark is orange-red, thick and deeply fissured at the base of the trunk, and thin and flaky in the upper crown. The leaves ('needles') are in pairs, slender, mostly 10-16 cm long, bright green to slightly yellowish green. The cones are stout, heavy and hard, 6-11 cm long and 4-5 cm broad at the base when closed, green at first, ripening glossy red-brown when 24 months old. They open slowly over the next year or two to release the seeds, opening to 5-8 cm broad. The seeds are 7-8 mm long, with a 15-20 mm wing, and are mainly wind-dispersed.

Turkish Pine is closely related to Aleppo Pine, Canary Island Pine and Maritime Pine, which all share many features with it. Some authors have treated it as a subspecies of Aleppo Pine, but it is usually regarded as a distinct species. It is a moderately variable species, and the following subspecies and varieties are named:

  • Pinus brutia subsp. brutia var. brutia (typical form; most of the range)
    • Pinus brutia subsp. brutia var. pityusa (Georgia and adjacent Russian Black Sea coast; barely distinct from the type)
    • Pinus brutia subsp. brutia var. stankewiczii (Crimea; barely distinct from the type)
    • Pinus brutia subsp. brutia var. pendulifolia (southern coastal Turkey; needles 20-29 cm, pendulous)
  • Pinus brutia subsp. eldarica (Eldar Pine; Azerbaijan; needles 8-14 cm, cones 5-9 cm).

The Eldar Pine is treated as a species (Pinus eldarica) by some authors; it is adapted to a drier climate with a summer rainfall peak, whereas subsp. brutia is adapted to a climate with mainly winter rainfall.

Turkish Pine is host to a sap-sucking aphid Marchalina hellenica. Under normal circumstances, this insect does no significant damage to the pine, but is of great importance for the excess sugar it secretes. This sugar, "honeydew", is collected by Honeybees which make it into a richly flavoured and valuable honey, "pine honey" (Turkish, çam bal), with reputed medicinal benefits.

The Krüper's Nuthatch, a rare nuthatch, is largely restricted to forests of Turkish Pine and depends heavily on it for feeding; the ranges of the two species are largely coincident.

The "Lone Pine", a prominent landmark tree at the ANZAC First World War battles at Gallipoli, is this species. Seeds collected from this tree were planted at many Australian war memorials.

It is widely planted for timber, both in its native area (it is the most important tree in forestry in Turkey) and elsewhere in the Mediterranean region east to Pakistan. It is also a popular ornamental tree, extensively planted in parks and gardens in hot dry areas such as southern California and Arizona in the United States, where its considerable heat and drought tolerance is highly valued. The subspecies eldarica is the most drought tolerant form, used in Afghanistan, Iran and more recently in Arizona.

Turkish Pine is also known by several other names, Calabrian Pine (from a naturalised population of the pine in Calabria in southern Italy, from where the pine was first botanically described), East Mediterranean Pine and Brutia Pine.


M P Frankis, 1999. Pinus brutia. Curtis's Botanical Magazine 16: 173-184.

External links

Photos of trees in Turkey (scroll down page) (http://www.pinetum.org/PhotoMPF2.htm)
Gymnosperm Database (http://www.botanik.uni-bonn.de/conifers/pi/pin/brutia.htm)it:Pinus brutia pl:Sosna kalabryjska tr:Kızılçam


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