Pinus tabuliformis Carr.

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Article from Bean's Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles

Article from New Trees by John Grimshaw & Ross Bayton

Recommended citation
'Pinus tabuliformis' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online ( Accessed 2024-07-19.


  • Pinus
  • Subgen. Pinus, Sect. Pinus

Common Names

  • Chinese Pine


  • P. sinensis sens . Mayr, not Lamb.
  • P. leucosperma Maxim.
  • P. wilsonii Shaw


Lying flat against an object.
Grey-blue often from superficial layer of wax (bloom).
(of fruit) Vernacular English term for winged samaras (as in e.g. Acer Fraxinus Ulmus)
With simple stem/axis extending by growth of the apical bud and bearing lateral branches. (Cf. sympodial.)
Egg-shaped solid.


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Article from Bean's Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles

Article from New Trees by John Grimshaw & Ross Bayton

Recommended citation
'Pinus tabuliformis' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online ( Accessed 2024-07-19.

A tree up to 80 ft high in the wild; young shoots glaucous at first, afterwards dull yellow or brownish, not downy; bark fissured, grey tinged with pink or orange; winter-buds oblong-ovoid, pointed, 12 to 34 in. long, the scales closely appressed. Leaves densely set on the shoots, mostly in pairs, sometimes in threes, 3 to 6 in. long; basal sheath persistent, 14 in. long. Cones solitary, ovoid, up to 212 in. long, persisting on the branches several years.

P. tabuliformis is widespread in the mountains of China and descends to near sea-level in the plains of the north. It was introduced by Fortune from the neighbourhood of Peking in 1862, but the trees now in cultivation are from later reintroductions and mostly from seed sent from W. China by Wilson when collecting for the Arnold Arboretum. It is very rare in this country and of no ornamental value. An example at Borde Hill, Sussex, in Gores Wood, measures 52 × 214 ft (1974). It was identified as P. tabuliformis by A. B. Jackson, and was raised from seeds collected by Wilson in Korea, distributed as P. densiflora (W.8815). Others are: Bayford, Herts, in Bells Wood, 45 × 312 ft (1962); Edinburgh Botanic Garden, from Wilson 1369, 36 × 2 ft (1967).

P. tabuliformis was at one time known by the name P. sinensis, but the pine thus named by Lambert is P. massoniana, a species very rare in cultivation, and not treated here.

From the Supplement (Vol. V)

specimens: Borde Hill, Sussex, Gores Wood, 59 × 212 ft (1981); Edinburgh Botanic Garden, from Wilson 1369, 70 × 212 ft and, from W.1370, 52 × 312 ft (1985); Altyre, Moray, 66 × 3 ft (1985).

P. yunnanensis – The specimen at Kew measures 40 × 434 ft (1980), and there are others at Borde Hill, Sussex.

From New Trees

Pinus tabuliformis Carrière

(Subgen. Pinus, Sect. Pinus)

Chinese (Red) Pine

This species was described by Bean (B245, S381) and Krüssmann (K245). A key to the varieties, adapted from Fu et al. (1999c), is presented below. Pinus tabuliformis var. henryi is treated here as P. henryi (p. 603).

1a.Trunk monopodial at the base, then branching to form a fan-shaped crown; China (Hebei, Liaoning)var. umbraculifera
1b.Trunk monopodial, crown conical then flat-topped2
2a.Bark dark grey; branchlets greyish yellow to greyish brown; China (Jilin, Liaoning), North Koreavar. mukdensis
2b.Bark pale grey, brown-grey or reddish grey; branchlets yellowish brown; China (Gansu, Hebei, Henan, south Jilin, Liaoning, Nei Mongol, Ningxia, Qinghai, Shaanxi, Shandong, Shanxi, Sichuan)var. tabuliformis

P yunnanensis Franch.

P. tabuliformis var.yunnanensis (Franch.) Shaw

This species is allied to P. tabuliformis of which it was made a variety by Shaw. It differs in its stout, pinkish shoots, longer leaves 4 to 9 in. long, and larger cones up to 4 in. long. Native of W. China, introduced by Wilson in 1909. There are two trees at Kew from this introduction, the larger 36 × 4{1/4} ft (1969). A tree at Borde Hill in Sussex, also almost certainly from the seeds sent by Wilson, measured 50 × 4 ft in 1957.

var. mukdensis (Uyeki ex Nakai) Uyeki

This variety has dark grey bark (pale grey, brown-grey or reddish grey in var. tabuliformis) and more widely splayed needles than in the type. The branchlets are initially greyish yellow and then turn greyish brown (in the type they are yellowish brown). Fu et al. 1999c. Distribution CHINA: Jilin, Liaoning; NORTH KOREA. Habitat Wooded hills and mountains. USDA Hardiness Zone 5. Conservation status Not evaluated. Illustration NT622.

Pinus tabuliformis var. mukdensis has been grown at Kew since 1979, when plants were donated by the Arboretum of the Chinese Academy of Forestry in Beijing. The trees have done well and have reached 10 m in height, producing abundant cones, but though worthy specimens they are distinctly dull. Perhaps, as in var. tabuliformis, they will attain a picturesque old age. The taxon is also occasionally grown by specialist collectors, as at the Anthoine Pinetum in Belgium, but is rare. Wilson 8815, collected in Korea, also belongs to this variety, and specimens under this number are growing at several arboreta (M. Frankis, pers. comm. 2007).

Unlike the other varieties with monopodial stems, P. tabuliformis var. umbraculifera T.N. Liou & Q.L. Wang branches early, forming a fan-shaped crown (Fu et al. 1999c). This character may be induced by environmental factors, or the taxon may derive from horticultural selections, in which case a cultivar group name might be more appropriate (M. Frankis, pers. comm. 2007). It is not known to be in cultivation, but is of potential interest in ornamental horticulture.