The Swiss stone pine (Pinus cembra), as you probably guessed, is a slow-growing evergreen, native to the European Alps and also the Carpathian Mountains. It is a medium-sized tree with a pyramidal shape when young but growing wider and more open as it matures. The dark green-blue needles with a whitish stripes grow in bundles of five. The timber of the Swiss stone pine is a popular material for wood carving because of it is light weight and its resin fragrance. Cone seeds are edible and cone seeds ( pine nuts) consumed as food in Europe come primarily from the stone pines (i.e. P. cembra and P. pinea). The mature purplish cones are used to add flavor to a traditional Alpine drink called zirbenschnapps . The specific name is the Italian name for this plant.
Common name: Swiss Stone Pine (Arolla Pine)
Scientific Name (family and order): Pinus cembra (Pinaceae, Pinales)
Species Origin: N. Asia Europe. Introduced to horticulture in 1875.
New Jersey Status: USDA Unreported
Habit: 30 – 40’ high x 15 – 25’ wide. Narrow and columnar in youth becoming open andglat topped with spreadign drooping branches when mature.
Habitat: Zones 3 – 7.
Trunk/Stem: Stem covered with dense yellow-brown to orange colored pubescence the first year becoming grayish brown to black in second year;
Leaves: Evergreen. Leaves in clusters of five; live for 4 – 5 years; stiff, striagtht 2 -3 “ long1/25” wide, apex blunt, margins finely toothed, dark green outside, inner sides with bluish white stomatic lines. Leaf sheath falling the first year.
Flowers: Monoecious, clustered inconspicuous.
Fruits and seeds: Cones terminal ; short stalked erect ovoid apex blunt 2 – 3” long by 1 ½” wide; greenish violet turnign purplish borwn when mature. Cones do not open but fall in the spring and are opened by birds or thought decomposition of scales.