Pines are 'sexual' plants, with male and female flowers born on different trees. The male flowers aresimilar in shape to the female, but when ripe release vast amounts of yellow pollen. The female flower, or cone, is basically a smaller, usually green version of the mature cone.

Male Pine flowers

Pinus species include:

The Bristlecone pine (Pinus aristata) A slow growing pine with short needles. The Bristlecone pine is native to the US (Arizona), but is often available in Garden centers. It is one of the longest living plants in the world, with specimins dated at 5,000 years.

Japanese White Pine (Pinus parviflora) The classic pine for bonsai. As this tree is delicate on it's own roots and suffers when repotted, it is often grafted (sometimes badly) onto the roots of the more robust Black pine. A very attractive tree with short bluish needles.


Black Pine (Austrian)(Pinus Nigra) Actually widespread throughout Europe. Has longer needles than the scots pine and will make a good, if slightly larger bonsai.

Japanese Black Pine (Pinus thunbergii) Native to Japan and an easy tree to grow. Has a long history of use in bonsai. Has quite long needles.

Scots Pine (Pinus sylvestris). Native to Europe and Russia. A good Bonsai tree easy to grow and easily available. There a few cultivars such as 'Beuvronensis' and 'Waterii' that have shorter needles than the true species. Planted throughout the world and readily available in garden centers.

Swiss Mountain Pine (Pinus mugo). This tree has reasonably short needles and compact growth. Several cultivars are available including 'Mops' and 'Gnome'.

Allen. C. Roffey 09:30 01/02/2003