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 period, 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.


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.


  • Height: up to 40m
  • Pine cone length: 3-7.5cm


Numbers of this tree are recovering in Scotland.


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

When to see

January – December


  • Scots pine plays host to a whole range of species, from stump lichens and Scottish wood ants that live on and under the bark, to majestic ospreys and golden eagles that nest in its level branches.

Common name

Scots pine

Species name

Pinus sylvestris

IUCN Red List status

Least concern

When to see in Scotland

January – December

Where to see in Scotland

Scottish Wildlife Trust reserves such as Spey Bay or Hermand Birchwood.

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