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Botanical Name: Pinus cembra
Common Name: Swiss Stone Pine
Origin: C. & E. Europe
Locations: CNE, CSW
Notable Feature: The ideal, slow-growing, dense evergreen. In its high elevation native habitat it is very picturesque.
Habit: A slow-growing, stately conifer that reaches 30 to 40 feet tall and 15 to 25 feet wide. It has a dense, upright-pyramidal growth habit in youth that becomes more open and spreading at maturity.
Flower: Monoecious with separate male and female flowers borne on same tree. Male flowers are cylindrical, purple, and in tight clusters at the branch tips; female flowers are reddish purple in small groups at the branch tips.
Fruit: Cones, 2 to 3 inches long; greenish violet when young, purplish brown at maturity. They fall off in spring of the third year; seeds are released by birds or by decomposition of the scales.
Foliage: Borne in evergreen bundles (fascicles of 5). The 2- to 5-inch long, twisted needles persist 3 to 5 years on the tree; dark green on top and bluish white on bottom with stomata lines.
Bark: Smooth green-gray when young, becoming furrowed with flat, scaly, gray-brown ridges. New stems are covered with orange/brown pubescence.
Interesting Facts: The cone seeds are edible. In Europe the seeds are harvested and sold as pine nuts and the pine cones are cut into slices and used to flavor Schnapps, which is then sold as "Zirbenschnaps"