T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Pinus thunbergii (Japanese black pine)

Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pinophyta
Class: Pinopsida
Order: Pinales
Family: Pinaceae
Genus: Pinus
Subgenus: Pinus
Species: P. thunbergii
Binomial name: Pinus thunbergii
Synonym: Pinus thunbergiana
Common names: Japanese black pine, Japanese pine, Black pine,

Pinus thunbergii is a pine native to coastal areas of Japan: Kyūshū, Shikoku and Honshū. This pine can reach the height of 40 m, but rarely achieves this size outside its natural range. The needles are in fascicles of two with a white sheath at the base, 7–12 cm long; female cones are 4–7 cm in length, scaled, with small points on the tips of the scales, taking two years to mature. Male cones are 1–2 cm long borne in clumps of 12-20 on the tips of the spring growth. Bark is grey on young trees and small branches, changing to black and plated on larger branches and the trunk; becoming quite thick on older trunks.
Because of its resistance to pollution and salt, it is a popular horticultural tree. In Japan it is widely used as a garden tree both trained as Niwaki (highly sculpting of trees) and untrained growing as an overstory tree. The trunks and branches are trained from a young age to be elegant and interesting to view. It is one of the classic bonsai subjects, requiring great patience over many years to train properly.

This young tree was photographed at Tupare Garden, New Plymouth, Taranaki. May 2016.