Monterey pine, insignis pine, radiata pine (Eng); pino insigne, pino de Monterrey (Spa); pi insigne (Cat); intsinis pinua (Baq); piñeiro de Monterrei, piñeiro insigne (Glg); pinheiro-insigne, pinheiro-de-Monterey (Por).
“I have a hundred little brothers, / we all very alike / and we're locked up / in a pretty globe.
Popular riddle (answer: pine nuts)
This pine can be up to 40 m tall, but does not normally exceed 25 m in height. Generally, young trees have a conical crown that becomes more rounded in adult specimens. The bark becomes fairly thick, deeply cracked and dark brown in mature trees. The bendy leaves are needle-shaped, measure 7-15 cm, and are pointed. Similarly to the Canary island pine (Pinus canariensis), the needles are borne in groups of three, differentiating them from the maritime pine (Pinus pinaster) and Aleppo pine (Pinus halepensis). Its cones are ovoid-conical, very asymmetrical and light brown in colour. They measure 7-14 cm in length and have a very short, or completely absent stalk, so that they appear to sit on the twigs. They usually hang in pairs or groups of 3 to 5. The external scales of the cones are bulky and have prominent apophyses. The pine nuts are very small (7 mm) and have a membranous wing (about 2 cm long) that facilitates their dispersal by the wind once the cone ripens and releases them.
It grows naturally in temperate, humid zones with mild winters, as it is not frost-resistant. Because of its rapid growth, the Monetery pine has been widely used in forest plantations in the pine groves on the islands. It can be found mainly on north-facing slopes between altitudes of 1000 and 1500 m. Even so, there are plantations at lower levels.
This pine is native to the coastal zone of Monterey, in southern California, and is widely distributed as it is used in reforestation. The Canary Islands are no exception to this. The Monterey pine has been planted en masse on almost all the islands and has become established in the wild on El Hierro, La Palma, La Gomera, Tenerife, Gran Canaria and Lanzarote.