Scots Pine

Pinus sylvestris


Scots Pine is the native pine tree in Scotland and has been widely planted elsewhere in the UK, too. During the medieval ages, a great pine forest stretched across most of the Highlands, but by the 17th century it was disappearing as timber was used for ship-building and charcoal. Although the late 20th century saw just a fraction of the original forest left standing, regeneration has now started to occur, especially in areas fenced off from browsing deer.

How to identify

Scots Pine is a tall, straight pine tree with distinctive orange-brown scaly bark. Its blue-green needles appear in pairs and can be up to 7cm long. Male cones are yellow and female cones are green, maturing to grey-brown.

Where to find it

Native in the Highlands of Scotland, but widely planted elsewhere.


When to find it

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December

How can people help

Despite massive clearances of Scots Pine forest in the Highlands, this native tree is now making a comeback which is good news for wildlife. The forests provide shelter for all kinds of species, and the seeds of the pine cones are a favourite food of threatened Red Squirrels and endemic Scottish Crossbills. With the help of an army of volunteers, The Wildlife Trusts manage many woodland nature reserves for the benefit of wildlife - join us and you could be involved in everything from traditional forest crafts to raising awareness about woodland animals.

Species information

Common name
Scots Pine
Latin name
Pinus sylvestris
Trees and shrubs
Height: up to 40m Pine cone length: 3-7.5cm
Conservation status