Turkish pine

Turkish pine

name = Turkish Pine
status = LR/lc | status_system = IUCN2.3

image_width = 240px
image_caption = Turkish Pine foliage and cones
regnum = Plantae
divisio = Pinophyta
classis = Pinopsida
ordo = Pinales
familia = Pinaceae
genus = "Pinus"
subgenus = "Pinus"
species = "P. brutia"
binomial = "Pinus brutia"
binomial_authority = Tenore

The Turkish pine ("Pinus brutia") is a pine native to the eastern Mediterranean region. The bulk of its range is in Turkey, but it also extends to the East Aegean Islands of Greece, the Crimea, Iran, Georgia, Azerbaijan, northern Iraq, western Syria, Lebanon, and Cyprus. It generally occurs at low altitudes, mostly from sea level to 600 m, up to 1200 m in the south of its range.

It is a medium-size tree, reaching 20-35 m tall and with a trunk diameter of up to 1 m, exceptionally 2 m. The bark is orange-red, thick and deeply fissured at the base of the trunk, and thin and flaky in the upper crown. The leaves ('needles') are in pairs, slender, mostly 10-16 cm long, bright green to slightly yellowish green. The cones are stout, heavy and hard, 6-11 cm long and 4-5 cm broad at the base when closed, green at first, ripening glossy red-brown when 24 months old. They open slowly over the next year or two to release the seeds, opening to 5-8 cm broad. The seeds are 7-8 mm long, with a 15-20 mm wing, and are mainly wind-dispersed.

Turkish Pine is closely related to Aleppo Pine, Canary Island Pine and Maritime Pine, which all share many features with it. Some authors have treated it as a subspecies of Aleppo Pine, but it is usually regarded as a distinct species. It is a moderately variable species, and the following subspecies and varieties are named:
*"Pinus brutia" subsp. "brutia" var. "brutia" (typical form; most of the range)
**"Pinus brutia" subsp. "brutia" var. "pityusa" (Georgia and adjacent Russian Black Sea coast; barely distinct from the type)
**"Pinus brutia" subsp. "brutia" var. "stankewiczii" (Crimea; barely distinct from the type)
**"Pinus brutia" subsp. "brutia" var. "pendulifolia" (southern coastal Turkey; needles 20-29 cm, pendulous)
*"Pinus brutia" subsp. "eldarica" (Eldar Pine; Azerbaijan; needles 8-14 cm, cones 5-9 cm).The Eldar Pine is treated as a species ("Pinus eldarica") by some authors; it is adapted to a drier climate with a summer rainfall peak, whereas subsp. "brutia" is adapted to a climate with mainly winter rainfall.

Turkish Pine is host to a sap-sucking aphid "Marchalina hellenica". Under normal circumstances, this insect does no significant damage to the pine, but is of great importance for the excess sugar it secretes. This sugar, "honeydew", is collected by Honeybees which make it into a richly flavoured and valuable honey, "pine honey" (Turkish, "çam balı"), with reputed medicinal benefits.

The Krüper's Nuthatch, a rare nuthatch, is largely restricted to forests of Turkish Pine and depends heavily on it for feeding; the ranges of the two species are largely coincident.

The "Lone Pine", a prominent landmark tree at an ANZAC First World War battle at Gallipoli, was this species. Cones from the battlefield were taken home to Australia, and plants sourced from the seeds were planted as living memorials.

It is widely planted for timber, both in its native area (it is the most important tree in forestry in Turkey) and elsewhere in the Mediterranean region east to Pakistan. It is also a popular ornamental tree, extensively planted in parks and gardens in hot dry areas (such as southern California, Arizona, and west and central Texas in the United States), where its considerable heat and drought tolerance is highly valued. The subspecies "eldarica" is the most drought tolerant form, used in Afghanistan, Iran and more recently in Arizona, California, and Texas. In the United States subsp. "eldarica" is usually referred to as either "Eldarica Pine" or "Afghan Pine".

Turkish Pine is also known by several other names, Calabrian Pine (from a naturalised population of the pine in Calabria in southern Italy, from where the pine was first botanically described), East Mediterranean Pine and Brutia Pine.

References and external links

*IUCN2006|assessors=Conifer Specialist Group|year=1998|id=42347|title=Pinus brutia|downloaded=12 May 2006
*Frankis, M. P. (1999). Pinus brutia. "Curtis's Botanical Magazine" 16: 173-184.
* [http://www.pinetum.org/PhotoMPF2.htm Photos of trees in Turkey (scroll down page)]
* [http://www.conifers.org/pi/pin/brutia.htm Gymnosperm Database]

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