Hispaniolan Pine, Pinus occidentalis

Hispaniolan pine (Pinus occidentalis) is found largely on the Caribbean island Hispaniola growing on the slopes. Hispaniolan pine forests can be found on the island of Haiti and the Dominican Republic in the mountain range.

The Hispaniolan pine can grow in mixed stands of trees with other broadleaf trees at elevations between 2789 and 6890 feet and in pure stands from 6890 feet up to 10,420 feet. These trees are also found in the lowlands growing in acidic soil that is rich in iron and aluminum.

The Hispaniolan pine is considered to be a medium-sized tree growing from 65.6 feet to 98.4 feet. The needles are dark green and grow in bundles of three, four, or five and measures 4.3-7.8 inches long. The cones mature in 18 months, are glossy brown in color, and measure 1.9-3.1 inches long. Seeds measure 0.15-0.19 inches long with a wingspan of 0.59 inches.

The Hispaniolan pine grows best with rainfall between 39.3 and 78.7 inches per year maintain the proper soil moisture all year long. This tree can tolerate temperatures as low as 32 degrees Fahrenheit, but grows best with temperatures between 53 and 64 degrees Fahrenheit.

The pine grows within the islands water catchment basins and helps control soil erosion from rain runoffs. This tree is threatened in its local habitat by fires, clearing for grazing animals, as well as being used as firewood or made in charcoal. Forestland in the Caribbean is shrinking drastically to the point that only 1.44% of the original forest cover is still remaining.

Image Caption: Hispaniolan pine (Pinus occidentalis). Credit: Ken_Mayer/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 2.0)