Forest 76 - Radiata Pine

Pinus radiata variety radiata

Pinus radiata trees. Photo not from the Arboretum Pinus radiata. Photo not from the Arboretum

Other common names

Monterey pine.

Origin of the species name

Pinus is classical Latin for pine; radiata is Latin and is thought to refer to the radial markings on the scales of the cone.



Date planted



Trees of this species have an average lifespan of 80-90 years.

General description

This is a medium-sized conifer with a single trunk which, in the wild, is often forked or branched near the ground. The bark is often deeply fissured and is rough and scaly. The branches are spreading or ascending to form a dense crown. The leaves are needle shaped, usually in groups of three. Pollen cones are orange-brown, cylindrical and held in clusters. Seed cones take two years to mature. They are shiny brown, egg-shaped and often in dense groups. They are strongly asymmetrical. This species has a long history on the Arboretum site and was grown here for many decades, prior to the bushfires of 2003. Height 25m Spread 18m.

Natural distribution and habitat

This variety occurs naturally on the south west coast of the USA. It grows on rocky coast lines from the sea level up to 400m where it forms pure stands or grows amongst other conifers or deciduous species.

Conservation status

Despite the wide planting of radiata pine around the world it is a threatened species in its natural habitat with 50% of the P.radiata var. radiata forest felled since Europeans arrived in California. The removal of natural fire succession and the introduction of disease are major threats.

Planting pattern

Planted in lines following the steep contours.


Radiata pine is the most widely planted tree species in the world. The wood is has been used for pulp, construction, carpentry, veneers, furniture, laminated wood, crates and boxes. The bark is often used as garden mulch. The tree has been widely planted in parks and as windbreaks.

Further reading

Farjon, A (2010) A Handbook of the World's Conifers. Brill.