Japanese Black Pine
Pinus thunbergianaPinaceae
Whole Plant
Whole PlantFlowerFlowerFruit
Photos (c) Cheryl Comeau Beaton unless otherwise noted


  • none

The Plant:

  • A cone-bearing, evergreen tree, 30 feet tall and sometimes up to 40 feet across. Trees are typically irregularly shaped, with a pyramidal crown, branches spreading more with age.

The Leaves:

  • long needles
  • 3-7 inches long
  • groups of two
  • often twisted
  • dark green
  • fine teeth

The Stem:

  • gray tint or purple-gray
  • scaly
  • fissured
  • trunk often divided

The Flowers:

  • Female cones are red, male cones yellow, both grow in clusters at branch tips. Blooms in spring.

The Fruits:

  • light brown woody cones
  • small prickles
  • seeds dark brownish black

The Habitat:

  • dry sandy soils
  • full sun
  • salt tolerant


  • wind-dispersed seeds
  • birds and mammals eat seeds

Key ID Features:

  • irregular shaped
  • divided trunk
  • young shoots covered with dense fuzz
  • winter buds white, slightly resinous

Similar Species:

  • The foliage, bark and cones of Austrian pine (Pinus nigra) are similar.


  • On Nantucket, this species can be found in sand dunes and in the moors. More information is needed about the distribution of this species on the island.

Growth Form: Tree

Origin: Japan

Level of Invasiveness for Nantucket: Invasive

Level of Invasiveness for Massachusetts: Not evaluated

Massachusetts Cultivation Restrictions: no

Credits: The Electronic Field Guide to the Invasive Plants of Nantucket (c) 2005-2006 Maria Mitchell Association, EFG Project, UMass Boston