Pinus nigra

Austrian Pine




  • control and southern Europe; nearby Asia
  • zones 4-7

Habit and Form

  • evergreen needle conifer tree, medium to large size
  • generally 50' to 70', 20' to 40' wide
  • pyramidal and dense when young (to 30' tall)
  • with age becoming flat-topped, with spreading branches and umbrella shape

Summer Foliage

  • needles in twos
  • color in dark army green
  • needles 4" to 6" long, persist 3 to 4 years
  • persistent leaf bases visible after needles fall, leaving stems rough
  • candles (buds) 0.5 to 1" long, light brown, resinous

Autumn Foliage

  • same as summer foliage


  • male flowers yellowish, in clusters
  • female flowers yellow-green


  • cones shiny yellow-brown
  • 2 to 3" long, approximately 2" wide
  • persists for 2 years


  • on mature trees its very striking
  • thick, irregular, gray-brown to silvery plates
  • deep furrows dark brown


  • relatively adaptable to most soils
  • fairly tolerant of heat, pollution, urban conditions
  • tolerant of salt
  • needs full sun

Landscape Uses

  • as a specimen
  • as a windbreak or screen
  • as trees open up with maturity, their usefulness as a screen diminishes
  • mass plantings
  • highway and seaside planting for salt-tolerance
  • urban plantings


  • Diplodia tip blight can cause shoot dieback
  • pine nematode
  • decline

ID Features

  • long needles in twos
  • needles do not readily break when bent back on themselves
  • needles sharp
  • often confused with P. resinosa whose needles snap readily and area not especially sharp to the touch
  • thick, blocky, gray and brown bark


  • seed germinates without pretreatment
  • cultivars grafted


Most of the plants grown in the United States are listed as var. nigra or var. austriaca. Like Pinus mugo, this plant exhibits great natural variability. Horticulturists have expoited this diversity to select some cultivars, a sampling of which are described below.

'Jeddeloh', 'Arnold Sentinel' and 'Pyramidalis' - These are vegetatively propagated columnar/pyramidal forms deep bluish-green needles and more upright branching habit. They can reach 25' tall or more.

'Hornibrookiana' - This is a dwarf, very compact mutation that grows 2' tall and wider. The needles are stiff and deep green.

© Copyright Mark H. Brand, 1997-2015.

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Citation and Acknowledgements: University of Connecticut Plant Database,, Mark H. Brand, Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture, Storrs, CT 06269-4067 USA.