A large tree with a high canopy, bare branches and several large low hanging boughs.
Pinus pinea

Stone pine

Family: Pinaceae
Other common names: Bolsterden, sambreelden (Afrikaans), pi pinyer (Catalan), 意大利松 (Chinese Simplified), 義大利五針松 (Chinese Traditional), borovice pinie (Czech), pinje (Danish), parasolden (Dutch), itaalia mänd, piinia (Estonian), pin d'Italie, pin parasol, pin pignon (French), piñeiro manso (Galician), Italienische steinkiefer, pinie (German), Κουκουναριά (Greek), אורן הצנובר (Hebrew), pino domestic (Italian), イタリアカサマツ, カサマツ (Japanese), sosna pinia (Polish), pinheiro-manso (Portuguese), Сосна итальянская (Russian), pino piñonero (Spanish), Fıstık Çamı (Turkish)
IUCN Red List status: Least Concern

The stone pine is easily one of the most well-known species of pine tree.

The seeds of the stone pine, known as pine nuts, have been cultivated for food for over 6000 years.

Stone pines are also grown as ornamentals in gardens and along streets, most commonly in the Mediterranean, alongside anywhere with a warm, dry climate.

Kew Gardens had a stone pine that was planted in 1846, when it was already 100 years old. When it fell in 2022, it was replaced by a sapling grown from one of its seeds.

The stone pine is an evergreen tree that can reach 25m in height, usually with a wide crown of leaves. The bark is red to brown to grey, and features long vertical cracks. The leaves, better known as needles, grow in clusters of two, and are green in colour. Individual needles measure between 10 and 18cm long and about 1.5 mm thick, with a small 1cm long sheath at the base.

The oval or spherical cones grow on short stems and measure around 10cm long and 8cm across. They are green in colour, ripening over three years to a shiny chestnut-brown when pollinated. The seeds, known as pine nuts, are found within the cones, in groups of two, and are around 20mm long by 10mm wide, with a thick coating of black powder.

Read the scientific profile for stone pine


The stone pine is a popular ornamental plant, especially in the Mediterranean.

The stone pine is considered a symbol of Rome, and was planted alongside Roman roads in classical times.

Food and drink

Pine nuts are harvested from stone pine cones and are eaten raw, in pesto, on cakes and cookies, and in fatayer.


Pine nuts are a rich source of vitamins and minerals, including manganese, phosphorous, vitamin E and vitamin K.

Materials and fuels

Stone pine trees are tapped for their resin, which is used in varnishes, glues and inks.

Tannins can be extracted from the bark of stone pines and are used in dyeing.

Stone pine wood is occasionally used in crafting furniture, although the wood is of lower quality.

  • Stone pines can be cultivated as bonsai trees.

  • The stone pine gets its name from the hard shell that surrounds the pine nut when it is still in the cone.

A map of the world showing where the stone pine is native and introduced to
Native: Albania, Baleares, Corse, Cyprus, East Aegean Is., France, Greece, Italy, Kriti, Lebanon-Syria, Portugal, Sicilia, Spain, Turkey
Introduced: Algeria, Canary Is., Libya, Morocco, New South Wales, Palestine, Tunisia, Turkey-in-Europe, Yugoslavia

Dry and sunny areas with high temperatures but can tolerate frost. Grows well on a range of different soils.

Kew Gardens

A botanic garden in southwest London with the world’s most diverse living plant collection.


Mediterranean Garden

View map of Kew Gardens
Best time to see
Flowers: Mar, Apr, May
Fruits: Sep, Oct, Nov
Foliage: Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec

Other plants

More from Kew

The geographical areas mentioned on this page follow the World Geographical Scheme for Recording Plant Distributions (WGSRPD) developed by Biodiversity Information Standards (TDWG).