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Native Conifers

Scots Pine (Albanach)
Pinus sylvestris L.

scots-pine-treeScots Pine of native Irish stock is considered by many academics to be extinct, although the species is found widely in Ireland. It is possible that some existing stands or individual trees of Scots Pine are native, but it is currently impossible to verify this. Scots Pine is the only pine tree native to Ireland. The only other native coniferous trees are Juniper (Juniperus communis) and the Yew (Taxus baccata).

Site suitability
Scots pine prefers light, sandy soils and does not like sea winds or high rainfall. However, it can tolerate such conditions and can be planted on marginal land where some broadleaf trees could not grow initially. Therefore, it has an important role as a 'nurse' species for broadleaf trees, especially beech on frost prone sites. Scots pine does not grow well on peaty soils.


Scots pine produces 'red deal' a strong, general-purpose timber. It is used for fencing, joinery, building, flooring and telephone poles. Formerly, it was used for railway sleepers. The wood is slow to decay because of its high resin content.

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