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Pinus canariensis

Pinus canariensis
Canary Island pine
Canary Island pines in Caldera de Taburiente, La Palma
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pinophyta
Class: Pinopsida
Order: Pinales
Family: Pinaceae
Genus: Pinus
Subgenus: Pinus
Species: P. canariensis
Binomial name
Pinus canariensis

Pinus canariensis, the Canary Island pine, is a species in the genus Pinus, family Pinaceae, native and endemic to the outer Canary Islands (Gran Canaria, Tenerife, Hierro and La Palma) in the Atlantic Ocean.[2] It is a subtropical pine and does not tolerate low temperatures or hard frost, surviving temperatures down to about −6 to −10 °C. Within its natural area, it grows under extremely variable rainfall regimes, from less than 300 mm to several thousands, mostly due to differences in mist-capturing by the foliage. Under warm conditions, this is one of the most drought-tolerant pines, living even with less than 200 mm per year.


  • Distribution 1
  • Description 2
  • Cultivation and uses 3
  • Gallery 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


The native range has been somewhat reduced due to over-cutting so that only the islands of Tenerife, La Palma and Gran Canaria still have large forests. Really big trees are still rare due to past over-cutting.[1] It is the tallest tree in the Canary Islands.

P. canariensis in natural habitat on Canary Islands


Pinus canariensis is a large evergreen tree, growing to 30–40 m tall and 100–120 cm trunk diameter (dbh), exceptionally up to 60 m tall and 265 cm diameter.[2] The green to yellow-green leaves are needle-like, in bundles of three, 20–30 cm long,[2] with finely toothed margins and often drooping. A characteristic of the species is the occurrence of glaucous (bluish-green) epicormic shoots growing from the lower trunk, but in its natural area this only occurs as a consequence of fire or other damage. In fact, this pine is one of the most fire-resistant conifers in the world. The cones are 10–18 cm long, 5 cm wide,[2] glossy chestnut-brown in colour and frequently remaining closed for several years (serotinous cones). Its closest relatives are the Chir Pine (Pinus roxburghii) from the Himalaya, the Mediterranean pines Pinus pinea, Pinus halepensis, Pinus pinaster and Pinus brutia from the eastern Mediterranean.

Cultivation and uses

The tree's extremely long needles make a significant contribution to the islands water supply, trapping large amounts of condensation from the moist air coming off the Atlantic with the prevailing north eastern wind (locally called "alisios"). The condensation then drops to the ground and is quickly absorbed by the soil, eventually percolating down to the underground aquifers.

The aromatic wood, especially the heartwood, is among the finest of pine woods - hard, strong and durable.

Pinus canariensis is a popular ornamental tree in warmer climates, such as in private gardens, public landscapes, and as street trees in California.

In South Africa and Australia, it has become a naturalized species from original landscape uses.



  1. ^ a b Farjon, A. (2003). Pinus canariensis. 2006. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. Retrieved on 11 October 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d C.A.B. International (4 April 2002). Pines of Silvicultural Importance: Compiled from the Forestry Compendium, CAB International. CABI. p. 35.  

External links

  • Pinus canariensisUniversity of Murcia: Tenerife Island, Canarias, Spain:
  • Images galleryPinus canariensisUniversity of Murcia - World Plants:
  • Pinus canariensisUniversity of California: Davis
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