Conifers Garden - Online Tree Nursery

Pinus cembra

Pinus cembra
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Product Information

Scientific name: Pinus cembra  Linnaeus  1753

Synonyms: Apinus cembra (L.) Neck. ex Rydb., Cembra montana Opiz, Pinea cembra (L.) Opiz, Pinus humistrata Carrière, Pinus montana Lam., Pinus montana Salisb., Strobus cembra (L.) Moldenke

Common names: Arolla pine, Swiss stone pine, Swiss pine, Austrian stone pine, Stone pine,  Arole (French), Arve (German)



Tree to 20(-30) m tall, though often dwarfed at the alpine timberline. Trunk to 1(-1.5) in diameter. Bark gray and smooth at first, becoming grayish brown and scaly, flaking to reveal reddish brown patches. Crown densely conical when young, becoming cylindrical and finally very open, with slender rising branches becoming horizontal and turned up at the ends, densely clothed with foliage only near the tips. Twigs yellowish brown at first, becoming blackish brown, densely woolly with orange-brown hairs. Buds 6-10 mm long, resinous. Needles in bundles of five, each needle 5-8(-12) cm long, stiff, straight, and loose, lasting 3-6 years, bright to dark green on outer face. Individual needles with lines of stomates only on the waxy grayish green inner faces, and two small resin canals between the outer epidermis of the outer face and the undivided midvein without touching either. Sheath 20-30 mm long, soon shed. Pollen cones 10-20 mm long, red. Seed cones (3-)6-8 cm long, egg-shaped, with about 50 seed scales, violet before maturity, ripening warm reddish brown, remaining closed and disintegrating with release of the  seeds of the seeds during the spring following maturation, short-stalked. Seed scales fan-shaped, somewhat fleshly, especially at the exposed, triangular tip, with a triangular umbo right at the tip. Seed body 12(-14) mm long, unwinged or with a very narrow, easily detached wing.

Alps and Carpathians of south-central Europe, from southeastern France to central Romania. Forming pure stands or mixed with other conifers in closed to sparse subalpine forests, woodlands, and scrublands; (1,300-)1,500-2,000(-2,700) m.


Conservation Status

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern

Pinus cembra is assessed as Least Concern as it is widespread in the Alps and Carpathians, is well protected in many reserves, and in several regions in the Alps it is currently expanding its altitudinal extent. The species is also assessed as Least Concern for the EU28 member states. The species has been widely introduced through cultivation in Europe and elsewhere. Threats come mainly from tourist development, in particular the massive infrastructure required for mass tourism skiing, e.g. pistes, lifts, accommodation, roads and parking lots. Forests of Arolla Pine have been fragmented and habitat has been altered thereby, making regeneration less likely. This species is present in several national parks and some forests, like the Aletschwald in Switzerland, are specifically protected for this species.



  • Farjon, A. (2010). A Handbook of the World's Conifers. Koninklijke Brill, Leiden.
  • Eckenwalder, J.E. (2009) Conifers of the World: The Complete Reference. Timber Press, Portland.
  • IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. Cambridge, UK /Gland, Switzerland

Copyright © Aljos Farjon, James E. Eckenwalder, IUCN, Conifers Garden. All rights reserved.

Product CodePINSE10F24
Weight1.5 kg
Height20 - 30 cm

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