Masson’s Pine, Pinus massoniana

Masson’s pine (Pinus massoniana) also known as the Chinese red pine and horsetail pine is native to central and southern China from the plains to the mountains.

Masson’s pine grows at sea level up to 4,921 feet but occasionally as high as 6,562 feet. This pine grows best in high light and high humidity in well-drained soil. This pine grows on busy hills, growing fast in the early stages, slowing down as it ages.

This pine species is an evergreen and grows to heights of 82-147 feet. The bark is grayish-brown at the base and orange-red higher on the trunk. The bark at the base of the trunk is thick and scaly with ridges as deep as 1.1-1.5 inches, but thin and flaking higher on the trunk. The needles are dark green and grow in bundles of two, measuring 4.7-7.8 inches long. Cones are oval, measuring 1.5-2.7 inches long and chestnut-brown in color. Cones open in late winter and mature 18-20 months after pollination. Seeds measure 1.5-2.3 inches long with wings measuring 0.39-.059 inches long.

Uses for this pine include using the logs for making paper, using the needles to give black tea a smoke flavor, as well as collecting pitch from the turpentine produced from this tree. This species is also used in construction, making furniture, boxes and matches; as well, it is commonly used for underwater construction. The trunk of this pine is a source of resin, which is used as a medicine and for growing fungi.

Image Caption: Photo of Pinus massoniana taken on a hill in Jiangxi, China. Credit: Doctoroftcm/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)