The European Black Pine Pinus nigra (generally called Black Pine in Europe), is a variable species of pine, occurring across southern Europe from Spain to the Crimea, and also in Asia Minor, Cyprus, and locally in the Atlas Mountains of northwest Africa. It is found at elevations ranging from sea level to 2,000 m most commonly from 250 – 1,600 m.
It is a large tree, growing to 20 – 55 m tall at maturity. The bark is grey to yellow-brown, and is widely split by flaking fissures into scaly plates, becoming increasingly fissured with age. The leaves ("needles") are in fascicles of two, dark green, and 8 – 20 cm long. The ovulate and pollen cones appear from May to June. The mature seed cones are 5 – 10 cm long, with rounded scales; they ripen from green to pale yellow-buff in September to November 18 months after pollination. The winged seeds are wind-dispersed when the cones open from December to April.
Sexual maturity is reached at 15 – 40 years; large seed crops are produced at 2 – 5 year intervals. It is moderately fast growing (30–70 cm/year) and usually has a rounded conic form, becoming irregular with age; it is fairly long lived, with some trees probably over 500 years old. It is intolerant of shade and needs full sun to grow well, but is resistant to snow and ice damage.
Different provenances (seed sources by geographic area) or varieties are adapted to different soil types: Austrian and Pyrenees origins grow well on a wide range of soil types, Corsican pine grows poorly on limestone, while Turkish and Crimean origins grow well on limestone.
It is planted mainly for shelter belts, as a street tree, and as an ornamental. It is recommended for windbreaks on medium to deep moist or upland soils. Its value as a street tree is largely due to its resistance to salt spray (from road deicing salt) and various industrial pollutants (including ozone), and its intermediate drought tolerance.