Aleppo Pine, Pinus halepensis

Aleppo pine (Pinus halepensis) is an evergreen that is native to the Mediterranean, specifically from Morocco and Spain, north to southern France, Italy, and Croatia. The Aleppo pine can also be found in Greece, Malta, northern Tunisia, and Libya. This same tree is called the Jerusalem Pine in Israel.

The Aleppo pine grows from sea level to 660 feet. In southern Spain the tree can grow at 3,300 feet, over 3,900 feet on Crete and in Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia it grows as high as 5,600 feet.

The Aleppo pine grows to heights of 49-82 feet and is considered to be a small to medium sized tree. The trunk measures 24 inches in diameter but some can grow as big as 3 feet 3 inches around. The bark has deeper grooves at the base than at the top and is orange-red in color. The needles are yellowish green; grow in bundles of two, sometimes in threes, and measures 2.4-4.7 inches long. The cones are green in infancy and ripen to a glossy red-brown in two years. The cones are narrow measuring 2.0-4.7 inches long and only 0.79-1.2 inches across when closed and 2.0-3.1 inches long when open. The seeds measure 0.20-0.24 inches long with wings measuring 0.79 inches. The cones open slowly once mature, faster under extreme heat conditions, dispersing the seeds to be spread in the wind. This pine is resistant to heat and drought and is considered to be a fast grower.

The Aleppo Pine should not be confused with other pines that are closely related such as the Turkish Pine, Canary Island Pine, and the Maritime Pine. The Aleppo pine is an invasive species in South Africa as well as South Australia.

The Aleppo pine is used for timber in Algeria and Morocco. Resin from the pine is used as flavoring in Greek wine known as retsina, which is a white, or rose wine. The Jewish National Fund has successfully transplanted the Aleppo Pine in Israel which is used for recreational purposes. The Aleppo pine is also used as an ornamental tree in hot dry regions, such as Southern California, placed in gardens, parks, and other private landscapes.

Image Caption: Aleppo pine (Pinus halepensis). Credit: Christian Ferrer/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)