The Gymnosperm Database


Bark and foliage of a 20 cm diameter tree in the Seattle Arboretum [C.J. Earle, 2010.02.06].


Cones on a tree in the Seattle Arboretum [C.J. Earle, 2010.02.06].


Cone on a tree in the Seattle Arboretum [C.J. Earle, 2010.02.06].

[More photos].

[Bonsai photo].

[Photos of pollen and immature seed cones].

[Photos of pollen grains].


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Conservation status

Pinus parviflora

Siebold et Zuccarini 1842

Common names

ゴヨウマツ hime-ko-matsu, goyo-matsu (var. pentaphylla: Kita-goyo) [Japanese]; Japanese white pine.

Taxonomic notes

This is a white pine, one of four species native to Japan. There are two varieties, parviflora and pentaphylla.

Synonymy for Pinus parviflora var. parviflora (Farjon 1998):

Synonymy for Pinus parviflora var. pentaphylla (Mayr) A. Henry 1910 (Farjon 1998):

"There are many cultivars of var. pentaphylla, such as Kamuro-goyo, Orizuru-goyo, Fuiri-goyo, Janome-goyo, etc. A form having the bark smooth was named var. pentaphylla f. laevis (Hara) Sugim. (Japanese name: Todohada-goyo. New Keys Wood. Pl. Jap.: 47, 1972. = var. laevis Hara in Bot. Mag. Tokyo 48: 794, t. 3, 1934)" (Iwatsuki et al. 1995).


The type variety is a monoecious, evergreen tree up to 25 m tall and 100 cm dbh. The trunk is massive, straight (sometimes split into two or more stems), supporting an irregular crown that flattens in old trees. The young bark is smooth and gray, aging to a dull gray, rough, longitudinally fissured, peeling off into scales. Branchlets are gray-green to yellow-brown, puberulent (glabrous). The scale leaves are alternate on long shoots and at base of short shoots, red-brown, lanceolate, acute, 5-15 mm long, 2 mm wide, deciduous. Leaves 5 per fascicle (fascicle sheaths deciduous in second year), 3-6 cm long, 0.8 mm across, apex acute, twisted, triangular in transverse section, dark green on dorsal face, the two ventral faces pale green from stomatal bands; resin canals two on lower side, marginal. They are densely whorled, giving branches a tufted appearance. Pollen cones in clusters of 20-30, crowded on lower part of new shoots, cylindric, red-brown, 5-6 mm long, 3 mm wide, with numerous stamens. Seed cones small for a tree of subg. Strobus, 1-10, crowded on upper part of new shoots, ovoid or elliptic-ovoid, maturing 6-8 cm long, 3-3.5 cm wide; seed scales resinous, loosely overlapping at maturity, widely obovate, gradually narrowing to base, 2-2.5 cm long, 2-2.3 cm wide, apex rounded, with a blackish spiny boss; bract scales small and inconspicuous. The cones persist for many years. Seeds obovoid, blackish, 8-10 mm long, 6-7 mm wide; wings short, 3-7 mm long, 8 mm wide, as long as or shorter than seed. Chromosome number n = 12. Flowers in May, with cones ripening in October of following year (Farjon 1984, Iwatsuki et al. 1995).

Var. pentaphylla has seed wings 10-12 mm long, ca. 8 mm wide, longer or as long as seed. The seed scales remain more or less appressed until after maturity (Iwatsuki et al. 1995).

Distribution and Ecology

Korea (Ullung Island) and Japan. Type variety in central W Honshu (southward from Fukushima Prefecture, mainly on Pacific Ocean side), Shikoku and Kyushu, growing at 200-1800 m elevation. Var. pentaphylla in S Hokkaido and N to central Honshu (in C Honshu mainly on Japan Sea side), growing on sunny rocky slopes at from 60-800 m elevation in Hokkaido, and 300-2500 m in Honshu (Iwatsuki et al. 1995). Along with another white pine, P. koraiensis, it is the characteristic pine is subalpine areas of Japan; these two pines probably covered much of the Honshu coastal area during the Pleistocene (Kremenetski et al. 1998). Hardy to Zone 5 (cold hardiness limit between -28.8°C and -23.3°C) (Bannister and Neuner 2001).

Big tree



As of 2004, no recorded use.


It is a common ornamental (cultivars named in Taxonomic Notes, above), and a popular tree for bonsai. Hardy in Zones 4-7. It was introduced to England in 1861 by John Gould Veitch and has become quite popular there (Dallimore et al. (1967)). See Gilman and Watson (1994) for horticultural data for the United States.


It is reasonably common in temperate-zone gardens and arboreta. I am not aware of any particularly good places to see it in habitat.


The seeds of this pine are known to be dispersed by the Eurasian Nutcracker Nucifraga caryocatactes (Hayashida 1989). See Lanner (1996) for a thorough discussion of the complex relationship between nutcrackers and pines.


Hayashida, M. 1989. Seed dispersal and regeneration patterns of Pinus parviflora var. pentaphylla on Mt. Apoi in Hokkaido. Research Bulletins of the College Experimental Forests (Hokkaido University) 46: 177-190.

Kremenetski, C.V., Kam-biu Liu and G. MacDonald. 1998. Late-Quaternary dynamics of pines: northern Asia. Pp. 95-106 in Richardson (1998).

Siebold, P.F. von and J.G. Zuccarini. 1842. Flora Japonica sive plantae, ... Leiden. Vol. 2(3), p. 27, t. 115.

See also

Mirov (1967).

Last Modified 2017-12-29