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Woody > Pinus > Pinus thunbergii > Pinus thunbergii

Pinus thunbergii

Japanese Black Pine

Origin:  Native to Eastern Asia (Japan) introduced in 1855.
            Mike's Opinion

this is Mike


This evergreen is an excellent plant and is a popular choice for road and boulevard plantings due to its salt tolerance. It has a very nice look due to its nicely irregular form. Although it is a desirable plant, cultivars are much more preferred.

Michael Pascoe, NDP., ODH., CLT., MSc. (Plant Conservation)


Tree (evergreen)
USDA Hardiness Zone
5 - 8
Canadian Hardiness Zone
4a - 7a
RHS Hardiness Zone
H5 - H7
Temperature (°C)
-29 - (-9)
Temperature (°F)
-20 - 15
8 - 16 m
6 - 12 m
Description and Growing Information
Flowering Period
General Description
Popular tree where salt is a problem; it can tolerate all kinds of soil and weather conditions but thrives best in full sun and grows vigorously in well drained clay, sand or loam soils. Tolerant of a wide range of pH conditions.
This tree is very salt tolerant and is invaluable for seashore plantings and useful to stabilize sand dunes. The trees can also be a very nice specimen/accent plant and can be trained into a bonsai.
Transplants easily if it is balled and burlapped after root pruning. The tree itself thrives and grows best on moist, fertile, well drained soils. It can tolerate salty environments, likes full sun and is very tolerant to heat and drought.
This plant is an excellent irregularly shaped tree and is one of the smaller species of Pines.
ID Characteristic
Plants have alternate, spiral, dark green needles with a grey trunk colour. With age Pinus thunbergii will spread and lower its branches in a pendulous way. The trunk is not usually straight but will sweep in a gentle curve.
None serious, stressed trees can possibly get bark beetles which scatter up and down the bark creating holes that look like shot holes. There are also case’s of Pine leaf miners and Pine needle scales. This tree is very resistant to diplodia tip blight.
Coasts of Japan at 1000 m.
Bark/Stem Description
Bark is dark grey to purple-grey. It is scaly and longitudinally fissured. In old trees the bark turns a black-grey colour.
Flower/Leaf Bud Description
Winter buds are white-grey to silvery colour and are not resinous. They are 1.5-2 cm long and are ovoid with a pointed tip.
Leaf Description
Needles are densely crowded and twisted. They are 6-11.5 cm long and are about 8 mm wide. They are stiff and fine-pointed with margins finely toothed.
Flower Description
Flowers on this plant are monoecious which means that individual flowers are either male or female and can both be found on the plant. Flowers are yellow and orange and are 3-5 cm long. They are borne in clusters and flower in April.
Fruit Description
Cones are short and conic-ovoid. They are 4-7 cm long with a brown-grey colour. Cones open late winter; they can be in single or paired. Cones don’t attract wildlife and can cause littering issues when on the ground.
Colour Description
Needle colour is a very nice green. In the autumn needles may turn to a light brown colour. Bark has a grey-purple colour and does not change through the winter season. Current year’s branch colour is brown and turns into a grey colour.
Texture Description
Medium textured; irregular shape in the landscape and sometimes with a swerved trunk.
Notable Specimens
University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada.
Seeds can be sown in sandy soils in early April, they should be soaked in colder water for about two days to speed up germination.