Masson's Pine

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Masson's Pine
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pinophyta
Class: Pinopsida
Order: Pinales
Family: Pinaceae
Genus: Pinus
Subgenus: Pinus
Species: P. massoniana
Binomial name
Pinus massoniana

Masson's Pine (Pinus massoniana; also known as Chinese Red Pine or Horsetail Pine) is a species of pine, native to a wide area of central and southern China, including Hong Kong and Taiwan, and northern Vietnam, growing at low to moderate altitudes, mostly below 1,500 m but rarely up to 2,000 m altitude.[1]

It is an evergreen tree reaching 25-45 m in height, with a broad, rounded crown of long branches. The bark is thick, greyish-brown, and scaly plated at the base of the trunk, and orange-red, thin, and flaking higher on the trunk. The leaves are needle-like, dark green, with two per fascicle, 12-20 cm long and 0.8-1 mm wide, the persistent fascicle sheath 1.5-2 cm long. The cones are ovoid, 4-7 cm long, chestnut-brown, opening when mature in late winter to 4-6 cm broad. The seeds are winged, 4-6 mm long with a 10-15 mm wing. Pollination is in mid spring, with the cones maturing 18-20 months after.[2][3][4]

Cultivation and uses

The species is a common trees in plantation forestry for replacing or compensating of the loss of the natural forest in southern China.[5]. Chinese rosin is obtained mainly from the turpentine of this Pine (Pinus massoniana) and Slash Pine (P. elliottii).

Logs are mainly used to make pulp for paper industry.

Leaves are used to give special smoke flavor to a local black tea, such as Lapsang souchong of Fujian province.


The Pinewood Nematode from North America and Pine-needle Scale Insect from Taiwan, have together virtually eliminated the native Pinus massoniana in Hong Kong in the 1970s and 80s.[6]

References and external links

  1. Mirov, N. T. (1967). The Genus Pinus. Ronald Press.
  2. Farjon, A. (2005). Pines, ed. 2. Brill, Leiden. ISBN 90-04-13916-8.
  3. Richardson, D. M. (1998). Ecology and Biogeography of Pinus. Cambridge. ISBN 0-521-55176-5.
  4. Gymnosperm Database: Pinus massoniana
  5. Ecosystem services of various types of artificial forest in South China – a provisional summary
  6. Porcupine! 23 - Hong Kong's Bad Biodviersity