The Austrian pine is a native of the Mediterranean countries, Spain, Calabria, Corsica, Balkan Peninsula and Asia Minor. The natural northernmost limit of its distribution was originally Austria, but today the Corsican and Austrian varieties especially are widely cultivated for their rapid growth, and high quality wood, in western and central Europe. It was J R Tolkiens favourite tree too.
The tree attains a height of 40 metres and has a straight bole which, however, tends to be very knotty. It differs from the Scots pine in being more darkly coloured, with black-brown, furrowed bark extending to the dense crown with dark green foliage. The cones mature in the second year. The Austrian pine thrives in areas with mild winters and hot summers, especially in lime-rich soils. It does not require much moisture and is used to afforest karst territories and to strengthen sandy sea dunes in maritime countries. The wood is resinous and especially well suited for boat building. In some places where there are large forests, use is made of its resin.
Needles: Dark green, in fascicles of two, 8—16 cm long.
Cones: Ovoid, 4—8 cm long, with lustrous, yellow-brown, rounded scale tips. Seeds: Varying in colour, 5—7 mm long, winged.