Wednesday, November 09, 2022

Aleppo Pine (Pinus halepensis)

Some pictures I took along the Mediterranean coast of Spain. The most common pine here is Pinus halepensis, the Aleppo Pine. 

It was first described from an Aleppo specimen, but actually the Levantine population is an outlier; the heartland of the species is the western Mediterranean, and especially eastern Spain. 

Mature bark, with bits of red.

(The bole may start out straight, but it soon becomes wavy and tortuous.)

Aleppo Pine is usually a smallish pine. The crown is rounded, but less regular in shape than the Stone Pine (Pinus pinea). 

The most common Spanish names are pino blanquillo and pino carrasco or pincarrasco. The former means "white pine" (pale foliage?). Carrasco, according to the dictionary of the Real Academia Española (, means a large expanse of land covered in woody vegetation. The same word is also one of the alternative popular names for the encima (holm oak). So I suppose it refers to the Aleppo Pine tending to cover substantial areas with scrubby forest. It is adapted to arid climates, and the cones release their seeds after wildfires. 

Compared to other Mediterranean or northern pines, the needles are relatively short, very straight, and a fresh apple-green colour. 

New cones, cinnamon-coloured. Whether new or old, they are always on recurved stalks which are very distinctive. The cones are much smaller than Stone Pine or Maritime Pine.

The cones contain small pine-nuts. They aren't used much as a food source, compared to the valuable pine nuts of the Stone Pine, but local traditions do exist in Morocco and Algeria. 

An Aleppo pine in the old fortress of Oropesa. The fortress was Moorish originally. When the Christians displaced the Moors, they built a walled town around the fortress to deter incessant raids by pirates. 

Old cones.

Old fallen needles snagged on lower shoots.

Aleppo Pine growing as ground cover on coastal cliffs.

Shoot very divided here.

Aleppo Pines in Paul Cezanne's garden in Aix-en-Provence. (The Big Trees, 1902-1904.)

[Image source: . In one of the National Galleries Scotland.]

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