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Pinus bungeana

Previously known as:

  • Pinus excorticata
Phonetic Spelling
PI-nus bung-gee-AH-na
Description

The lacebark pine is a slow-growing evergreen conifer that grows 30 to 50 feet tall and 20 to 35 feet wide. Shrubby when young, this tree has picturesque, showy bark that exfoliates or peels in patches, revealing a patchwork of colors of white, olive, light purple, and silver. The patchwork will eventually become a milky white. These features aren't evident until the tree matures.

 Lacebark pine is often multi-stemmed, pyramidal to rounded, and becomes flat-topped with age.  Removing the lower branches will expose the beautiful bark. It has medium to dark green needles that are in bundles of three. If bruised, the needles will give off a turpentine-like scent. This evergreen is a member of the Pinaceae or pine family.

The native range of this tree is Central and Northern China.

The genus name, Pinus, is the Latin name for pines. The species epithet, bungeana, is in honor of a Russian botanist, Alexander von Bunge.

The lacebark pine prefers well-drained soils, full sun, and afternoon shade. It is intolerant to heat and may suffer in planting zones 7 to 8. It may be best to plant this evergreen a little higher in the soil to ensure good drainage. Once established, this plant is drought tolerant, and it is also deer resistant. The trunk may split and the limbs may break in heavy snow and ice due to its multi-trunk habit. As in many multitrunked trees, some molting may occur.  However, training as a single trunk is possible.

The ornamental bark is the showstopper of this species. Patience is required because it will take 10 years before the tree bark begins to exfoliate. It will make an excellent specimen or accent tree in the home landscape, and it needs to be placed where it can be admired throughout the year.

Seasons of Interest:

Bark:  Year-round     Foliage:  Year-round

Quick ID Hints:

  • evergreen 30 to 50 feet tall and 20 to 25 feet wide
  • the bark on young trees is smooth and gray
  • exfoliating bark reveals a patchwork of white, olive, light purple, and silver after age 10.
  • needles in bundles of 3, medium to dark green, stiff, flat, sharply pointed, measure 2 to 4 inches long, 2 mm wide, and margins finely toothed, faint stomatal lines on the needle surface and the fascicle sheath falls away 
  • pollen cones are insignificant
  • seed cones are yellowish-brown, ovoid, 1.5 to 2.5 inches long, and 1.5 to 2 inches wide, be solitary or paired either terminally or laterally on the stems on short stalks

Insect, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  The lacebark pine has no serious disease or insect issues.  This tree is susceptible to wind damage.  Snow and ice may break the limbs.

VIDEO created by Andy Pulte for “Landscape Plant Identification, Taxonomy, and Morphology” a plant identification course offered by the Department of Plant Sciences, University of Tennessee.

 

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Compacta'
    compact habit
  • 'Great Wall'
    Broad-columnar with great density of branches and foliage.
'Compacta', 'Great Wall'
Tags:
#evergreen#drought tolerant#interesting bark#wildlife plant#moths#bonsai#winter interest#showy fruits#multistemmed#needled evergreen#deer resistant#nighttime garden#needled#picturesque#pollinator plant#multitrunked#larval host plant#moth larvae#wind damage prone#imperial moth#landscape plant sleuths course
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Compacta'
    compact habit
  • 'Great Wall'
    Broad-columnar with great density of branches and foliage.
'Compacta', 'Great Wall'
Tags:
#evergreen#drought tolerant#interesting bark#wildlife plant#moths#bonsai#winter interest#showy fruits#multistemmed#needled evergreen#deer resistant#nighttime garden#needled#picturesque#pollinator plant#multitrunked#larval host plant#moth larvae#wind damage prone#imperial moth#landscape plant sleuths course
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Pinus
    Species:
    bungeana
    Family:
    Pinaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    In Korea, the tree is used for lumber and the seeds and oil are ingested.
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Central and Northern China
    Distribution:
    Native: China North-Central, China South-Central, China Southeast, Inner Mongolia. Introduced: Korea
    Wildlife Value:
    This plant supports Imperial Moth (Eacles imperialis) larvae which have one brood per season and appear from April-October in the south. Adult Imperial Moths do not feed.
    Play Value:
    Colorful
    Textural
    Dimensions:
    Height: 30 ft. 0 in. - 50 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 20 ft. 0 in. - 35 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Needled Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Multi-stemmed
    Oval
    Pyramidal
    Rounded
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    24-60 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    4b, 4a, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Gold/Yellow
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Spring
    Summer
    Winter
    Fruit Length:
    1-3 inches
    Fruit Width:
    1-3 inches
    Fruit Description:
    The seed cones are yellowish-brown, ovoid, 1.5 to 2.5 inches long, and 1.5 to 2 inches wide. They may be solitary or grow in pairs either terminally or laterally on the stems on short stalks. The seed scales have a triangular spine, and the seeds are short and have a wing attached.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Insignificant
    Flower Description:
    This tree is monoecious, and the pollen cones are ornamentally insignificant. The male pollen cones are yellow, cylinder-shaped, and clustered. The female pollen cone is yellowish-green.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Needled Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Prickly
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Leaf Type:
    Needles
    Leaf Shape:
    Filiform
    Leaf Margin:
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    The leaves are needles medium to dark green, stiff, flat, sharply pointed, measure 2 to 4 inches long, 2 mm wide, and appear in bundles (fascicles) of three. The margins are finely toothed. There are faint stomatal lines on the needle surface and the fascicle sheath falls away easily. They are sparsely distributed on the stems and remain on the tree for 2 to 4 years. When bruised the needles have a turpentine odor.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Green
    Light Gray
    White
    Surface/Attachment:
    Exfoliating
    Peeling
    Smooth
    Bark Description:
    On young trees, the bark is smooth and dull gray. After the age of 10 years, exfoliating bark reveals a patchwork of white, olive, light purple, and silver. Becomes milky white with age.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Gray/Silver
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Buds:
    Scaly
    Stem Surface:
    Smooth (glabrous)
    Stem Description:
    The stems are multi-stemmed, smooth, and grayish-green. The buds are spindle-shaped. 0.5 inches long, and have reddish-brown scales.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Lawn
    Meadow
    Naturalized Area
    Patio
    Walkways
    Landscape Theme:
    Cottage Garden
    Nighttime Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Specimen
    Attracts:
    Moths
    Pollinators
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Drought