Italy is part of the Mediterranean region. Most of the country has a temperate climate, with colder conditions in the far north and hot dry or subtropical areas in the south. Italy is home to rough, mountain terrain, with plains and coastal lowlands present in some parts, according to the CIA World Factbook. The combination of diverse geographic conditions and climate types makes for an abundance of diverse plant life, including pine trees.
The Aleppo pine, Pinus halepensis, is native to the Mediterranean region. Found throughout Italy, this tree grows from 50 to 90 feet tall. It is marked with orange-red bark that is thick and cracked in appearance closer to the base of the tree, growing more flaky and thin toward the top. The Aleppo pine has yellow-green needles that grow in pairs. The tree is grown for both commercial timber production and ornamental or shade purposes. Aleppo pine resin is also used to flavor a type of Greek wine known as retsina, which has been manufactured for an estimated 2,000 years.
The maritime pine, Pinus pinaster, is another native Mediterranean pine tree. Growing from 65 to 115 feet tall, it is characterized by many similar features to the Aleppo pine. The maritime pine has orange-red bark that is thick and textured with fissures near the base of the trunk, growing thinner and smoother toward the top of the tree. The evergreen needles grow in pairs and may be greenish-blue or yellow-green. The maritime pine is grown for commercial timber production as well as ornamental or shade purposes. Maritime pine tree sap is used in the production of nutritional supplements, including flavinoids and pycnogenol.
Italian Stone Pine
The Italian stone pine, sometimes called the umbrella pine, Pinus pinea, is native to the Mediterranean and southern Europe. Short and stout, the umbrella pine grows between 40 and 65 feet in height. The moniker "umbrella pine" refers to the tree's distinct silhouette, which is produced by a rounded crown that fans out over the base of the tree. The bark of the Italian stone pine is brick red and marked by deep fissures that separate the bark into plate-like sections. The evergreen needles of the tree are a deep, medium-green, which grow in pairs of two. Stone pines are grown for their edible nuts, called pine nuts, which are actually the seeds of the tree and are found in broad, oval-shaped cones of the trees.
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