Mountain pine

Pinus mugo
Pine family (Pinaceae)

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Pinus mugo, known as dwarf mountain pine, mountain pine, scrub mountain pine, Swiss mountain pine, bog pine, creeping pine, or mugo pine, is a species of conifer, native to high elevation habitats from southwestern to Central Europe and Southeast Europe.


The tree has dark green leaves ("needles") in pairs, 3–7 centimetres (1+142+34 inches) long.

The cones are nut-brown, 2.5–5.5 cm (1–2+18 in) long.


There are three subspecies:

  • Pinus mugo subsp. mugo — in the east and south of the range (southern & eastern Alps, Balkan Peninsula), a low, shrubby, often multi-stemmed plant to 3–6 metres (10–20 feet) tall with matt-textured symmetrical cones, which are thin-scaled.
  • Pinus mugo subsp. uncinata — in the west and north of the range (from the Pyrenees northeast to Poland), a larger, usually single-stemmed tree to 20 m (66 ft) tall with glossy-textured asymmetrical cones, the scales of which are much thicker on the upper side.
    Some botanists treat the western subspecies as a separate species, Pinus uncinata, others as only a variety, P. mugo var. rostrata. This subspecies in the Pyrenees marks the alpine tree line or timberline, the edge of the habitat at which trees are capable of growing.
  • Pinus mugo subsp. rotundata — hybrid subspecies, of the two subspecies above that intergrade extensively in the western Alps and northern Carpathians.

An old name for the species, Pinus montana, is still occasionally seen, and a typographical error "mugho" (first made in a prominent 18th-century encyclopedia) is still often repeated.


Pinus mugo is native to the subalpine zones of the Pyrenees, Alps, Ore Mountains, Carpathians, northern and central Apennines, and higher Balkan Peninsula mountains – Rila, Pirin, Korab, Accursed Mountains, etc. It is usually found from 1,000–2,200 m (3,281–7,218 ft), occasionally as low as 200 m (656 ft) in the north of the range in Germany and Poland, and as high as 2,700 m (8,858 ft) in the south of the range in Bulgaria and the Pyrenees. Also in Kosovo it is found in Bjeshkët e Nemuna National Park.

In Scandinavia, Finland and the Baltic region, P. mugo was introduced in the late 1700s and the 1800s, when it was planted in coastal regions for sand dune stabilization, and later as ornamental plants around residences. In Denmark, Norway and Sweden, the species has naturalised and become invasive, displacing fragile dune and dune heath habitats. In Estonia and Lithuania P. mugo only occasionally naturalises outside plantations, sometimes establishing in raised bogs.


Pinus mugo is classed as a wilding conifer, and spreads as an invasive species in the high country of New Zealand, coastal Denmark, and other areas of Scandinavia.


Pinus mugo is widely cultivated as an ornamental plant, for use as a small tree or shrub, planted in gardens and in larger pots and planters. It is also used in Japanese garden style landscapes, and for larger bonsai specimens. In Kosovo, its trunk is used as construction material for the vernacular architecture in the mountains called "Bosonica".


Numerous cultivars have been selected. The following have been given the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit:

Cultivars with seasonal changes in foliage color include Pinus mugo 'Wintergold' and Pinus mugo 'Ophir'.


The mugo pine is used in cooking. The cones can be made into a syrup called "pinecone syrup" , "pine cone syrup", or mugolio. Buds and young cones are harvested from the wild in the spring and left to dry in the sun over the summer and into autumn. The cones and buds gradually drip syrup, which is then boiled down to a concentrate and combined with sugar. Alternatively, the pinecones can be macerated in sugar, fermented, and strained.


See also

  • Pinus × rhaetica



  • Christensen, K.I. (1987). Taxonomic revision of the Pinus mugo complex and P. × rhaetica (P. mugo × sylvestris) (Pinaceae). Nordic J. Bot. 7: 383–408.

External links

  • Gymnosperm Database - Pinus mugo
  • Arboretum de Villadebelle - photos of cones (scroll down page)
  • Pinus mugo and Pinus uncinata - information, genetic conservation units and related resources. European Forest Genetic Resources Programme (EUFORGEN)



WWW info

Continu searching
Leaf size Leaf size Leaf shape Leaf edge Twig Bark Height Seed Seed shell Flower Flower type Type
Leaf size  < 5 cm      Leaf size  5-15 cm Leaf shape  needle      Leaf edge  smooth  Twig  whorled Bark  rough Height  5-30 m Seed Seed shell  solid Flower Flower type  other Type  Evergreen
< 5 cm 5-15 cm needle smooth whorled rough 5-30 m solid other Evergreen
0 LookAlikes (LA):
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Pin couché
Pino negro
Сосна стланиковая
Pinus mugo [L.]