Kew botanist R. A. Salisbury brought this conifer to Kew as a six-inch seedling from the South of France in 1814.
The Corsican pine (Pinus nigra subsp. laricio) stands on the site of Kew’s first Pinetum, which was planted 250 years ago close to the Orangery, just inside Elizabeth Gate. Trees in the Pinetum were planted systematically, according to Linnaeus’s classification scheme. This was based on shared physical characteristics of species.
Early in the 20th century, a light aircraft crashed into the upper crown of the tree, taking out the leading shoot.
Things to look out for
The tree has been struck by lightning at least twice, most recently in 1992. You can still see scars from the strikes on the main trunk. The tree is now fitted with a lightning conductor to prevent it being damaged in the same way in the future.
About the Corsican pine
Originating from Corsica, southern Italy and Sicily, the Corsican pine was first introduced to the UK in 1759. It is a valuable timber species that now grows in the south and midlands of England, south Wales and the east coast of Scotland.