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Sunday, January 19, 2014

Pinus halepensis - Aleppo Pine

The Santa Cruz freeway pine tree, the Aleppo Pine is a fast evergreen conifer, growing quickly to 30-60 feet tall, with a mature shape that can be described as irregular. Reasonably full canopy even though the leaves are restricted to the ends of the branches. Young trees rather symmetrical. Several different forms available, or should I say differences in opinion as to the species. Pinus butia is very similar.





Leaves are evergreen in clusters of 2, 2-4" long, thin, straight or slightly twisted, medium green. Generally pointing forward on the stems, they don't seem to be retained for very many years. Have seen a few clusters with 3 needles.







Stems are silver-grayish in color. Arranged in a flat spreading upward arching habit.



You can see the overall arching habit of the lateral branches as well as the lack of leaves on slightly older parts of the stems.



Cones are narrow egg shaped (when closed) 3-5" long, reddish brown, opening oval to broadly ovate shaped. No distinct sharp prickle on the cone scale.



Cones are grayish when mature and can stay attached for years.




Bark is thick, orange-red, deeply fissured on old trees, thin and flakey on younger trucks.


Misidentification:
2 needle pines here:
P. cembrioides, very short needles, small tree, tiny cones with pinyon seeds.
P. controta, has very short leaves and very much smaller cones, not really common.
P. densiflora has very thin leaves and every much smaller cones as well as being clustered, less common as well.
P. halepensis has thin leaves, found on the freeways usually.
P. mugo, small shrub generally,
P. nigra, leaves dark, stiff, white buds, yellowish tan cones, 
P. pinea, leaves thicker, stiffer, look for the leaves on new shoots on this one to be laying almost flat and forward as well as being retained longer.
P. sylvestris, bluish green leaves, distinctly twisted, smaller cones, reddish bark, not common.
P. thunbergii, thicker needles, often yellowish green, very sharp and usually twisted.

Location:
Along the freeways throughout Santa Cruz, Capitola, Soquel and Aptos,
Good location, 41st ave intersection and along the highway heading north next to Home Depot (at 41st)

Aptos:
1855 Calypso Drive, Aptos, CA (also an Austrian Pine)

Watsonville:
Airport exit heading south on 1.

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