17. Scots Pine

Scots Pine

Pinus sylvestris L.

Native Range: From Scotland, eastwards through Scandinavia, the Baltic States to the far east of Russia and can be found within the Arctic Circle.

  • The tree is a ‘two needle’ pine and has a reddish-orange tinge to the bark at the crown and around the new buds
  • The Scots Pine was selected as Scotland’s National Tree after a consultation held by Forestry Commission Scotland
  • The Scots Pine is an important timber tree and the only native conifer to be grown commercially by the Forestry Commission. The larch grown on conifer plantations is a hybrid of the native and Japanese larch. Historically, Pinus sylvestris timber was imported from Europe under the name Riga Fir or Danzig Fir, named after the ports from where the wood was shipped.
  • The timber from Pinus sylvestris known as ‘redwood’ or ‘red deal’ is easy to work and has a good strength to weight ratio. The timber tolerates immersion in water so it was used in ship building, ship masts and water wheels.
  • The Scots pine is an important wildlife tree attracting Siskin, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Great Crested Tit and Crossbill to feed in the branches.
  • The flat level branches make good predator perches and nesting sites for Osprey, Golden Eagles and goshawks

The Scots Pine arrived in Scotland after the last ice age around 7000 BC and was very successful until around 2000 BC. In this period the climate of Scotland changed and it became wetter and winder and this also coincided with greater human activity both of which elements resulted in the decline of the Caledonian Forest across Scotland. One of the best examples to see a remnant of the great Caledonian Forests that once covered Scotland is Glenn Affric in the Highlands.Often described as the most beautiful glen in Scotland; it contains one of the largest ancient Caledonian pinewoods in Scotland as well as lochs, moorland and mountains.

The Forestry Commission website available at http://www.forestry.gov.uk/forestry/infd-5nlhqh and down loaded 5/2/2014

Eckenwalder, J. (2009) Conifers of the World, Timber Press