Blogging from A to Z: U is for Umbrella Pines

Sunset over the walls of Pompeii, with umbrella pines. Photo by the author.

Hi, everyone. We’re almost at the end of this year’s A to Z challenge. Mind-boggling, isn’t it?

If you visit pretty much any part of Italy, you will see umbrella pines, also known as stone pines. They are native to the region, but have also been cultivated for their edible seeds since prehistoric times. That’s right; these trees are the source for those pine nuts you enjoy nibbling or using in your cookery.

Umbrella pines can grow quite tall (up to 82 feet) in maturity, but they start out as shrubs. They go through some foliage changes in the process of maturing as well, changing from single- to double-leaf needles. If the tree sustains an injury, such as a branch breaking off, the new needles will be the juvenile single-leaf variety until the growth matures.

The umbrella pine is one of the symbols of Rome, and is planted along many of its streets.

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