The Gymnosperm Database

Pinus hwangshanensis

Plant in habitat [Adrien Golinelli]; click the photo to see an entire gallery devoted to this species.


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Conservation status

Pinus hwangshanensis

W.Y. Hsia 1936

Common names

黄山松 huangshan song [Chinese]; Huangshan pine. Variant spellings of "Huangshan" occur; it means "Yellow Mountains," which are in Anhui, where the species was first described.

Taxonomic notes

Pinus hwangshanensis is the Chinese representative of a group of three closely related taxa: Pinus taiwanensis of Taiwan, Pinus luchuensis of Japan, and Pinus hwangshanensis of mainland China. All three taxa are morphologically similar, but distinct, and they are here treated as separate species, although they could also be called subspecies of P. luchuensis.

Syn: P. luchuensis var. hwangshanensis (W. Y. Hsia) C. L. Wu; P. luchuensis subsp. hwangshanensis (W. Y. Hsia) D. Z. Li; P. taiwanensis var. damingshanensis W. C. Cheng et L. K. Fu. It belongs to the large subsection Pinus. The specific epithet is sometimes spelled 'huangshanensis'.


Trees to 25-25 m tall, with a straight trunk and level branches with dense upcurved branchlets, old trees with a flattened crown. Bark dark gray or purple-gray, scaly, longitudinally fissured. Branches grey-brown, rough, scaly. Shoots chestnut-brown to dark brown, glabrous, with prominent scale-leaf bases. Winter buds ovoid-acute, chestnut brown, slightly resinous, scales adpressed. Needles 2 per fascicle, 5-8 cm long, 0.8-1 mm wide, acute, dark green, scabrous with minute marginal teeth, persisting 3-4 years; resin canals medial (as in P. thunbergii); sheath persistent, 1 cm long, chestnut-brown (Hsia 1936). Cones subsessile, broad squat ovoid, 4-6.5 cm long, yellow-brown, opening when mature in late winter to x 5-7 cm broad, often long persistent on the tree after opening. Cone scales 18-30 mm long, 10-18 mm wide at the base narrowing to 8-14 mm wide just below apophysis, then slightly wider again, 10-15 mm, at the apophysis; scale stem blackish to dark purple-brown on upper side, mid brown on seed side; apophysis lustrous yellow-brown, rounded, slightly swollen, with the small mucronate umbo often slightly recessed (particularly on basal scales). On open cones, opening very widely, to 90° or even reflexed - an unusual feature in subsect. Pinus. Seeds dark brown, ovoid, 6 mm long, with an articulate wing 12-18 mm long and 4-6 mm broad (Hsia 1936, pers. obs. Michael Frankis 1999.

P. hwangshanensis differs from P. taiwanensis as follows: needle sheaths 0.5-1 cm (not 1-1.4 cm); middle part of margin with (37-)43-57 teeth per cm (not 26-35(-39)); pollen cones reddish brown (not yellowish brown); umbo of seed scales depressed, with a minute but distinct and persistent, mucronate prickle (not flat, with a tiny, deciduous prickle or unarmed) (Wu and Raven 1999).

Distribution and Ecology

China: Anhui, Fujian, C Guangxi, Guizhou, S Henan, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, SE Yunnan, Zhejiang, where it occurs at 600-3400 m elevation in mixed warm-temperate and montane forests, open areas and sunny ridges on sandy, acidic mountains, co-dominant with species of Fagaceae (Wu and Raven 1999). Hardy to Zone 7 (cold hardiness limit between -17.7°C and -12.2°C) (Bannister and Neuner 2001).

Big tree





Easiest to see at the type locality of Huang Shan, a World Heritage Site. Photographs of the pines at this locality can be seen on the cover and p. 17 of The Natural History of China (Zhao et al., 1990, Collins), and in the introduction of the Trees for Life 1999 diary.


A very important picturesque tree creating much of the character of the sacred mountain Huang Shan in Anhui province, E China.


Hsia W. Y. 1936. Flowering plants of Hwangshan. Contrib. Inst. Bot. Nat. Acad. Peiping 4: 155-156.

Hsia W. Y. 1936. A new species of Chinese pine. Chinese Journal of Botany 1(1):17-18, pl. 6.
I have seen both of these 1936 Hsia publications cited as the original publication on this species. I do not know for certain which is correct.

Thanks to M.P. Frankis (1999.04) for his help with this page.

See also

Wu and Raven (1999) treat it as a synonym of Pinus taiwanensis, but provide a good description that applies to both species.

Golinelli, Adrien. 2004. Huang Shan (China) (2006.03.13), an album of photos of Pinus hwangshanensis in habitat.

Last Modified 2017-12-29