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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.


Pinus mugo - mountain pine

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Mountain pine grows naturally in the Pyrenees, the Alps, the Carpathians and the northern Apennines, as well as in the mountains of the Balkans at elevations 1000-2200m, above the tree-line. It forms thick park-like woods or impassable thickets, which prevent erosion and avalanches and provide protection for many other life forms.

Because the areas of mountain pine growth are widely separated, the species has evolved over time to produce distinct local forms. Dwarf mountain pine (P. mugo subsp. mugo) is familiar in Finland as a multi-stemmed shrubby ornamental, native to the eastern and southern parts of the range. It has a number of named small dense forms and varieties. From the western parts of the range another local subspecies, P. mugo subsp. uncinata (also called mountain pine in English) can be found as a small single-trunk tree.

The shrubby mountain pines at Mustila were planted pre-war in near-natural surroundings at the edge of the Shoe Rock (Kenkäkallio), Helanterikallio and Nokkala’s Aarremäki (Treasure Hill), where they are still growing. A few old specimens can be found growing to the west of the Polish larches (Larix decidua var. polonica).

Pinus contorta var. latifolia - (Rocky Mountain) lodgepole pine


Lodgepole pine is native to a narrow belt stretching north-south in the Rocky Mountains of western North America. It is rather narrow-crowned, with needles in bundles of two, distinguishable from the native Finnish species (Pinus sylvestris) by the former’s longer, thicker, twisted and paler green needles. The lodgepole’s bark is thin and dark grey, similar to that of the native Finnish spruce (Picea abies) and lacking the typical orange-red colour and plate-like (in age) bark of Finnish pines. Lodgepole pine is a pioneer species, rapidly populating areas cleared by forest fires, and its cones usually open only after such fires.

Lodgepole pine, earlier known as Murray pine (P. murrayana), is grown more than any other exotic conifer in Finland except larch. It is grown for its rapid growth and the suitability of its root formation to clay soils. Though its popularity has varied over the decades, it use has never become really widespread in forestry and as an ornamental it has remained mainly a curiosity.


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