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Pine Trees of Rome

The Colosseum in Rome image by Jess from

The pine trees of Rome—Italian stone pines, maritime pines and Aleppo pines—are as much a part of the city as the Colosseum and are instantly recognizable. These trees thrive in the hot summers and dry winters that define the Mediterranean climate, according to “Italy,” by The Lonely Planet.

Italian Stone Pine

The Italian stone pine, or umbrella pine, with its broad, domed crown and tall, bare trunk has become part of the Mediterranean landscape, according to “Trees,” by Colin Ridsdale, John White and Carol Usher. The tree can reach a height of 80 feet, and its bark is pale brown, which cracks into long, flat plates that run vertically down the trunk. The needles are attached to the branches in pairs and the pine cone is round with a flat base and contains edible pine nuts.

Maritime Pine

The maritime pine thrives in acidic and sandy soils, according to “Trees & Bushes of Europe,” by Oleg Polunin. The pine can reach a height of 130 feet, and its bark is purple-brown and smooth when young, becoming grooved in maturity. The needles are attached in pairs and the cones are oblong. The tree is harvested periodically for its resin by cuts made into the trunk.

Aleppo Pine

The Aleppo pine is planted to help stabilize sandy soils in arid areas, according to “The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Trees of the World,” by Tony Russell, Catherine Cutler and Martin Walters. The tree grows to a height of 65 feet and, on young trees, its bark is purple brown with orange grooves, and on older trees, the bark is red-brown with deeper orange grooves. The needles are clustered in pairs and the cones range in color from orange to red-brown.

Harms Pine Trees?

Hundreds of insects can damage pine trees. Insects might damage shoots and prevent new growth from forming, such as the pine shoot beetle, which bores into the stem and stops the flow of juices to the pine tips. The pine collar weevil feeds on large roots just below the surface, damaging the tree’s ability to transport water and nutrients from the soil. Hundreds of fungal types can harm parts of pine tree. For example, phytophthora root rot attacks the roots of trees growing in wet soils, and gall rust can cause large growths on the trunk. Branches might be affected by blister rust, which forms elongated, swollen areas on the bark. Freezing weather following a warm spell can damage both the foliage and the trunk of the pine. Bark damage that occurs when lawn mowers or weed cutters strike the trunk can open up the tree to disease.

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