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Pinus peuce - Macedonian pine

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Macedonian pine seeds were first received at Mustila in 1907 from a Bulgarian forester. They had been collected in the Rila Mountains which, despite their southern position, have low average temperatures, and where the snow only melts in June. The species grows in the Balkan mountains as a relict from before the last Ice Age. In addition to Bulgaria and Macedonia, it also grows around Lake Prespa in Albania.

Macedonian pine is the only member of the 5-needled white pine group that really thrives at Mustila, and one of the few Mustila species that has found its place in Finnish landscaping and commercial garden centres. It is resistant to all kinds of problems and in its shade tolerance is on a par with Norway spruce, in marked contrast to the usual demands of pines for full sunlight. In maturity it does not deteriorate in the same way as the Siberian pine (P. cembra), and in open spots it grows broad and dense.

There are Macedonian pine stands at Mustila in five very different areas, and it seems to grow well in all of them. The atmosphere in these stands is very different from that in a Finnish pine stand. Under the long blue-green needles, among the dark-grey, spruce-like trunks, the shady light effect is beautiful. The ground is covered by a soft needle-mat with occasional fallen cones, which tempt migrating spotted nutcrackers (Nucifraga caryocatactes) to break their journeys at Mustila to feed, before continuing south for the winter.