Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris)

Scots pine Common Names: Scotch pine

Description: Important tree in the forestry industry, with its wood being used for pulp and sawn timber products. One of the first trees ever introduced to the United States in the 1600s and became widely popular in the Christmas tree trade. It was the most popular Christmas trees from the 1950s through the 1980s.

Habit: Perennial, coniferous; 70-120 ft tall, 3-5 ft diameter, evergreen tree, higher stems are bright orange in color.

Leaves: Evergreen needles, 1 1/2 to 3 inches long, with two stout, twisted needles per fascicle; blue-green with distinct stomatal bands.

Stems: Moderately stout; green when young, changing to yellow-brown to olive-brown with large orangish, narrowly ovoid buds.

Flowers: Monoecious, males cylindrical, yellow in color, in large clusters along twigs; females oval, yellow-green to purple in color.

Fruit and seeds: Cones are ovoid, 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 inches long, yellow-brown in color and slightly stalked, umbo is somewhat armed, with a blunt spine; apophysis resembles a pyramid, particularly on basal scales; maturing in the fall.

Habitat: Native to Scotland and Europe. Grows well in moist, well-drained soils. Found in old fields, roadsides, open bogs, and open forested areas.

Reproduction: By seed.

Similar species: Jack Pine (Pinus banksiana); Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa); Swiss Mountain Pine (Pinus uncinata).

Monitoring and rapid response: Hand-pulling young seedlings, cut larger trees, effectively controlled using any of several readily available general use herbicides such as glyphosate or triclopyr. Coneworm larvae, tip moths and pine root collar weevil are natural enemies.

Credits: The information provided in this factsheet was gathered from the USDA PLANTS Database, Wikipedia, and the Virginia Tech Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation VTree.

Individual species images that appear with a number in a black box are courtesy of the network ( photo author credits may not be included due to the small display size of the images and subsequent difficulty of reading the provided text. All other images appear courtesy of Google (

Common Name:

Scots pine

Scientific Name:

Pinus sylvestris







USDA Symbol: