Botanical Name: Pinus thunbergii
Common Name: Japanese Black Pine
Origin: Japan/South Korea
Notable Feature: Noted for its whitish terminal buds that provide interesting contrast against its dark green foliage.
Habit: In youth artistically uneven, but more or less pyramidal in shape. In old age it assumes an irregular, wind-swept look reaching up to 80 feet tall and 40 feet wide. They often resemble a large bonsai tree.
Flower: Monoecious (separate male and female flowers on the same tree). Male flowers are reddish yellow, in clusters near branch tips, and appear in early spring; female flowers are reddish purple, egg-shaped, and appear near the branch tips in early spring.
Fruit: Woody, egg-shaped cone, 2 to 3 inches long, 1 1/2 to 2 inches wide, light brown in color, unarmed or with very minute prickles.
Foliage: Needles occur in bundles (fascicles) of 2, and are dark green, stiff and stout, 3 to 5 inches in length, and persist 2 to 4 years. The silvery white "candles" (young fast-growing, upright shoots) are extremely ornamental and are highlighted by the dark green foliage.
Bark: Gray on young trees and small branches, changing to grayish black, breaking into irregular, rough, scaly plates.
Interesting Fact: The species epithet, thunbergii, is in honor of Carl Peter Thunberg (1743-1828), a Swedish botanist and physician who was fortunate enough to be allowed to visit Japan during the Edo Period (1603-1868). On this visit he not only described many of Japan’s plant species but he introduced a new cure for syphilis.