The Gymnosperm Database


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Conservation status

Pinus nigra subsp. salzmannii

(Dunal) Franco 1943

Common names

European black pine, Corsican pine, Cevennes black pine, Spanish black pine [English], Pinu lariciu [Corse], Pin laricio [French].

Taxonomic notes

Part of a complex species with two subspecies, each with three varieties.
Subsp. salzmannii (Dunal) Franco (this page), the thin-leaved western subspecies, comprises:

* The varietal name maritima, though widely used and older than corsicana, is invalid. Its type, an illustration cited by Aiton under his Pinus sylvestris var. maritima, proved to be Pinus halepensis, so this name cannot be used for the Corsican pine (Christensen 1993).

Subsp. nigra J.F. Arnold (q.v), the thick-leaved eastern subspecies, is covered separately; see that page for general discussion of the species.


A tree to 35-50 m tall and 1-1.8 m dbh. Stem straight; bark on entire trunk thick, scaly-plated, grey-brown. Crown with slender level branches with upswept tips; open ovoid-conic when young and becoming flat-topped with age. Branching uninodal. Shoots green at first, becoming orange-buff by the end of the first summer, sparsely leaved. Buds narrow conic, red-brownish with grey fringes to scales, usually thickly covered in resin. Leaves in fascicles of two, 10-18 cm long, slender, 0.8-1.5 mm thick, dark green, often slightly twisted, margins finely serrulate; persistent for 2-4 years; leaf sheath grey-brown, 10-15 mm. Leaf anatomy shows 1-2 layers of thin-walled hypodermal cells. Male cones 10-15 mm, yellow. Cones 5-8 cm long, conic, symmetrical or nearly so, green ripening grey-buff to yellow-buff; mature in November-December, 20 months after pollination, opening from February to April and falling soon after seed shed; scales rounded, flat to protuberant, with a weak transverse ridge and a minutely mucronate dorsal umbo. Seeds dark grey, 5-6 mm, with a 15-22 mm wing.

The varieties differ very little; they are accepted here more through following tradition than any useful identifiability. Some trees may be distinguishable as follows (Maire and de Peyerimhoff 1927, Mitchell 1972):

Var. salzmannii: buds whitish due to thick white resin cover; shoot orange-brown; leaves 8-17 cm; cone 4-7 cm, apophyses mostly flattish.

Var. corsicana: buds red-brown fringed pale grey, greyer resin cover; shoot yellow-brown; leaves 11-18 cm; cone 6-8 cm, apophyses variable.

Var. mauretanica: shoot orange-brown; leaves 6-12 cm; cone 4-7 cm, apophyses often raised [buds not described].

Distribution and Ecology

Subspecies salzmannii occupies the mountains of the western Mediterranean region, at altitudes of (250-) 500-1600 m. Its constituent varieties are distributed as follows:

Var. salzmannii in Spain and S France.

Var. corsicana in Corsica and Central Italy.

Var. mauretanica in scattered localities in Algeria and Morocco; southern Spanish populations may also belong here.

Big tree

Wild trees in Corsica are reported to reach 55 m tall. For var. corsicana, a tree 185 cm dbh and 43 m tall is known from Fallistro, Calabria, Spezzano, Sila, CS, Italy (Corpo Forestale della Stato 2004). Some exceptional trees have also been planted in the U.K. A specimen of var. corsicana, 127 cm dbh and 46 m tall grows at Adhurst St Mary, Hants, and another 144 cm dbh and 37 m tall at Dropmore, Bucks (Mitchell, Hallett, and White 1990).




USDA hardiness zone 7. Var. corsicana is a very important forestry crop in France and Britain.




Christensen, K. I. 1993. Comments on the earliest validly published varietal name for the Corsican Pine. Taxon 42: 649-653.

Corpo Forestale della Stato. 2004. Alberi Monumentali D'Italia., accessed 2004.12.08.

Franco, J.M.A.P. do Amaral. 1943. Dendrologia Florestal. Lisbon: Lucas & Co. p.56.

Maire, R. and P. de Peyerimhoff. 1927. Sur la découverte d'un Pin Laricio dans l'Afrique du Nord. Comptes Rendus 184: 1514-1516.

Mitchell, A.F. 1972. Conifers in the British Isles. Forestry Commission Booklet 33.

Mitchell, A.F., V.E. Hallett, and J.E.J. White. 1990. Champion trees in the British Isles. Forestry Commission Field Book 10.

See also

References on Pinus nigra page.

Last Modified 2017-12-29