Scotch pine (Pinus sylvestris), an evergreen tree native to Europe and Asia, is the most widely distributed pine in the world. It grows naturally from Scotland to above the Arctic Circle in Scandanavia, across to the mountains of Siberia and down to the shores of the Mediterranean. The ability of Scotch pine to thrive across such a huge geographic and climactic range shows its great adaptability to grow under extremely varied conditions.
Scotch pine was brought to North America by early European settlers. Today, Scotch pine is grown on tree farms and is one of the most popular evergreens used as Christmas trees (although not as popular as fir trees here in New England).
The needles of Scotch pine are bluish green, and the cones are a grayish brown, from 1 to 3 inches long. Scotch pine is valued for its form which becomes more picturesque as it matures. The decorative bark is orangish-brown, smooth and flaky in the upper portions of the tree, with thicker, grayish or reddish-brown, scaly bark towards the base.
Scotch pine provides shelter and food for birds and mammals. The normal lifespan is 150 to 300 years, with the oldest known specimens, in Finland, estimated to be 760 years old.
Here in Medford, you will find two lovely specimens of Scotch pine growing handsomely next to one another along Mystic Valley Parkway at Memorial Park, near the Upper Mystic Lake. Enjoy!
Submitted by Aggie Tuden, Medford Tree Warden