Common Name – Scots Pine
Irish Name – péine Albanach
Latin Name – pinus sylvestris
The creation of a thousand forests is on one seed
Member of the Pinaceae family, Scots pine is an evergreen conifer, its leaves are present all year round. Mature trees grow to thirty-five meters and can live for up to seven hundred years! They have reddish bark towards the crown of the tree and brown bark towards the base. The needle-like leaves are blue-green and slightly twisted. After pollination by wind, the female flowers turn green and develop into cones. They mature the following season, so there are always cones of different ages on the one tree. Mature cones are grey-brown with a raised, circular bump at the centre of each scale.
It thrives in heathland and is known as a pioneer species, due to its ability to regenerate and thrive in poor soils. Scots pine is widely planted for timber and is one of the strongest softwoods available, widely used in the construction industry and in joinery. It is used in the manufacture of telegraph poles, gate posts and fencing. Other uses include rope made from the inner bark, tar from the roots and a dye from the cones. Dry cones can be used as kindling for fires.
Scots Pine has a distinguished reputation in Irish mythology and history. It was notoriously a symbol of rebirth and represented hope. This was signified through the burning of Scots pine.