Pinus radiata (radiata pine)
- Summary of Invasiveness
- Taxonomic Tree
- Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature
- Plant Type
- Distribution Table
- History of Introduction and Spread
- Risk of Introduction
- Habitat List
- Biology and Ecology
- Latitude/Altitude Ranges
- Air Temperature
- Rainfall Regime
- Soil Tolerances
- Notes on Natural Enemies
- Means of Movement and Dispersal
- Impact Summary
- Environmental Impact
- Impact: Biodiversity
- Threatened Species
- Risk and Impact Factors
- Uses List
- Wood Products
- Prevention and Control
- Links to Websites
- Distribution Maps
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PicturesTop of page
IdentityTop of page
Preferred Scientific Name
- Pinus radiata D. Don
Preferred Common Name
- radiata pine
- Pinus radiata var. binata (Engelm.) Lemmon
- Pinus radiata var. cedrosensis (J. T. Howell) Axelrod
Other Scientific Names
- Pinus insignis Douglas ex Loudon
- Pinus insignis var. binata Engelm.
- Pinus muricata var. cedrosensis J. T. Howell
International Common Names
- English: insignis pine; Monterey pine; radiata; remarkable pine
- Spanish: pino insigne; pino insignia; pino radiata; radiata
- French: pin de Monterey
- Chinese: fu she song
Local Common Names
- Canada: pig pine
- Germany: Monterey-Kiefer
- Italy: pino insigne
- USA: Monterey pine
- PIURA (Pinus radiata)
- Californian pine
- pinus radiata
- radiata pine
Summary of InvasivenessTop of page
Taxonomic TreeTop of page
- Domain: Eukaryota
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Phylum: Spermatophyta
- Subphylum: Gymnospermae
- Class: Pinopsida
- Family: Pinaceae
- Genus: Pinus
- Species: Pinus radiata
Notes on Taxonomy and NomenclatureTop of page
The species occurs naturally in just five discrete populations: the three from the Californian mainland are assigned to var. radiata; the Guadalupe Island population is assigned to var. binata; and the Cedros Island population is assigned to var. cedrosensis respectively. Var. binata and var. cedrosensis have needles in pairs instead of threes. While long in some dispute, var. binata was recognized early as belonging to P. radiata. However, until recently var. cedrosensis was usually assigned to P. muricata (Axelrod, 1980). Separate varietal status has been suggested for the Cambria population on the mainland, but has not been accepted.
DescriptionTop of page
The stem is usually a single, more or less straight bole, which often breaks up into large spreading limbs in the upper crowns of old, open-grown trees. Stem form can vary widely according to site, ranging from very straight, with little taper and almost no forking on sites deficient in nitrogen or phosphorus, to rather crooked, heavily tapered trees with a high percentage of forking on very fertile sites. The bole near ground level usually has appreciable taper, and usually develops slight fluting after the pole stage. Prevailing winds can lead to slight lean and appreciable butt sweep. Bark on lower boles of older trees is hard, dark brown, and generally rather thick and deeply fissured, but is much thinner further up the stem. The branching pattern is very complex and variable (Bannister, 1962), the number of branch clusters (whorls) on an annual growth stage of the leader ranging from one to six, depending very largely on the individual genotype. Spacing of successive branch clusters and size of branches can range from regular to highly irregular. Angle of exsertion of branches is very variable, with large branches tending to be steep-angled. The variability of branch habit has been of major interest in breeding programmes. Branch diameters show a large influence of site fertility as well as stocking.
The root system is naturally based on a strong tap root in young seedlings, especially in the island provenances, but preparation in the nursery for planting can modify this characteristic, as does the use of cuttings for propagation. In some soils, e.g. with multiple layers of volcanic ash or certain coastal sands, the root system can be very deep, but rooting depth is often severely restricted by soil depth or compacted layers such as often develop in fluvial gravels. Features of the root systems of young trees are the very high root regeneration capacity and ready production of fibrous roots, which help make the species so easy to transplant successfully. The growth habit in the juvenile and 'adolescent' stages tends to be unstable and relatively untidy, the adult habit typically being attained only after 6-12 years.
Needles, grouped in fascicles, in threes in var. radiata, and in pairs in var. binata and var. cedrosensis. Dimensions usually 10-18 cm long, occasionally 3-20 cm, 1.2-2 cm wide. Colour typically intense, dark green, but may be yellowish or bluish green. Generally soft and moderately pliable. The green primary foliage of the juvenile phase is produced until an unusually advanced stage of development for a pine, although this feature varies widely among natural populations.
Pollen strobili are cylindrical, 7-17 mm long. Female strobili are reddish purple at emergence, with the noteworthy features of occurring on the more vigorous shoots including the leader, and never in the cluster of branch buds at the end of an annual growth stage on the shoot. Cones can occur singly but are very often in clusters encircling the shoot. They take two years from pollination to mature and ripen. Freshly ripened cones are pale or medium brown, usually 7-17 cm long (occasionally 5-20 cm), and usually 4-7 cm wide (occasionally up to 9 cm) with a distinctive shape, if variable, ovoid-conical, usually with strong asymmetry, the proximal part of the axis being curved sharply back (20-90°, usually about 50°) from shoot tip, but the distal part is straight. Large cones tend to be more asymmetric, and with greater length:breadth ratios. Scales often very large and thick with raised umbos on the outer side. Mucros very small or absent. Cones are serotinous, capable of remaining unopened for a number of years in absence of hot, dry conditions, and can remain attached long after opening.
Plant TypeTop of page
DistributionTop of page
Distribution TableTop of page
The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.Last updated: 25 Feb 2021
|Continent/Country/Region||Distribution||Last Reported||Origin||First Reported||Invasive||Planted||Reference||Notes|
|South Africa||Present, Widespread||Introduced||Planted|
|India||Present||Introduced||Original citation: Singh and Khan, 1988|
|Taiwan||Present||Introduced||Original citation: CheTsung et al., 2001|
|-New South Wales||Present||Introduced||Planted||Original citation: Johnson et al. (1997)|
|New Zealand||Present, Widespread||Introduced||Invasive|
History of Introduction and SpreadTop of page
Risk of IntroductionTop of page
HabitatTop of page
Habitat ListTop of page
|Terrestrial||Natural / Semi-natural||Natural forests||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Terrestrial||Natural / Semi-natural||Natural grasslands||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Terrestrial||Natural / Semi-natural||Riverbanks||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Littoral||Coastal areas||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
Biology and EcologyTop of page
The patterns of genetic variation in P. radiata and history of its genetic improvement are outlined by Burdon (1992, 2000). Advances in genetic knowledge and developments concerning genetic improvement are covered in Burdon and Moore (1997). Intensive provenance testing has been done, albeit belatedly, in New Zealand and Australia and to a lesser extent in Chile and South Africa (Burdon, 1992; Johnson et al., 1997; Burdon et al., 1997a, 1998). Differences among the mainland provenances are subtle, but definite, involving soil and climatic tolerances and disease resistance, rather than growth potential. The two island provenances are distinctive in morphology, having higher wood density and slower growth. Guadalupe is slightly slower and Cedros substantially so, but hybrids with mainland stock tend to match the growth rates of the mainland parents. No native provenance is completely devoid of advantages. Domesticated stocks are evidently derived entirely from Monterey and Año Nuevo, mainly the latter. For most purposes this has provided a near-optimal genetic base for adaptation and intensive breeding, but further importations of native-provenance material were indicated and have been carried out. The Guadalupe provenance is of interest for hybridizing with already domesticated stocks, for straighter stems, higher wood density and some possible climatic tolerances. The Monterey provenance, which is generally under-represented in land-race stocks, has superior tolerance of poor soils. The Cambria provenance is of interest for Western Australia. Domesticated stocks differ appreciably from their progenitor stocks, although this is only in part attributable to responses to natural and silvicultural selection in adoptive environments.
Genetic variation between individual trees exists, often at notably high levels, for a wide range of traits, including: cone size and morphology, branching characteristics, stem form, phenology, soil tolerances, frost resistance, brows resistance, resistance to certain diseases, secondary metabolites, and numerous wood properties (Burdon, 1992; Matheson et al., 1997; Shelbourne, 1997). This has been demonstrated in both pure studies of the species' genetic architecture and in the course of progeny testing select material. Adverse genetic correlations, which form important breeding constraints, exist between wood density and stem volume, and between distance between clusters of branches on the one hand, and knot characteristics, general stem form and early growth rate on the other. Genotype x site interactions, involving changes of genotypic rankings among sites, are sometimes important for stem diameter growth but tend to be less important for other traits (Burdon et al., 1997b). The major breeding programmes generally involve large, elaborately structured breeding populations that are designed to give cumulative gains over successive generations. Native-population material is being kept ex situ as back-up gene resources, but its perpetuation requires increased commitment (Eldridge, 1997). CalEPPC (1999) record a threat to the native form from invasive P. radiata cultivars which can spread pine pitch canker disease to the native trees.
Physiology and Phenology
The phenology of P. radiata has been reviewed by Lavery (1986) and Burdon (1994). The role of temperature appears to lie essentially in short-term control of the rate at which growth can occur, with no actual meristematic extension appearing to occur with prevailing above-ground temperatures below about 5°C. Indeed, low temperatures do not appear to impose any true dormancy, although they can cause hardening against frost. The photoperiodic control appears to be at least in part through daylength shift, rather than absolute daylength, with increasing daylength promoting a more active phenological state, although experimentally applied long days can have the same effect. High nitrogen status appears to reduce the seasonal fluctuations in vegetative phenological state.
In any event, P. radiata has a long, almost completely opportunistic growing season, which evidently accounts for its high growth rate. However, after the juvenile stage, extension of shoots and foliage tends to be concentrated in the spring although in milder climates it can be well underway by late winter. Shoot extension shows its main morphological discontinuity after the summer solstice; however, even in post-juvenile trees, shoot extension can proceed facultatively on the leader well ahead of the main spring flush. Diameter growth can occur throughout the year, temperatures permitting. Remarkably, it may in milder climates show an upsurge, which is evidently related to the switch from producing latewood in one growth ring to earlywood in the next, immediately after the winter solstice even though temperatures are still dropping. The pollination season is earlier than in any other pine. It can begin very soon after the winter solstice, but can be as long as four months later on cold sites, suggesting that it occurs as soon as temperatures permit after the solstice. At low latitudes, vegetative phenology tends be become more related to rainfall fluctuations, while flowering tends to be sparse with no coherent season, leading to little or no seed being produced.
Reproductive behaviour of P. radiata is covered by Burdon and Miller (1992). Like pines in general, it is a hermaphrodite, but is incompletely self-fertile (Griffin and Lindgren, 1985) and shows inbreeding depression (Wilcox, 1983). It is wind-pollinated, with pollen production beginning on all trees at an early age, generally around 5-6 years, but depending somewhat on site and provenance. Onset of female flowering can begin at about the same age, but can vary very widely among individuals leading to a long straggle in onset of seed production. Amount of flowering and seed production show limited fluctuations from year to year. Sensitivity of seed production to stocking is limited by the fact that even when crowded, the main stem can produce cones. Reproductive activity is generally promoted by warm, low-rainfall sites, especially near the sea. Cones are serotinous, capable of remaining unopened for a number of years in absence of hot, dry conditions, and can remain attached long after opening. The serotinous cones store cumulative seed crops and make long-term seed storage a natural phenomenon. A very high germination rate is possible.
For detailed descriptions and reviews see Scott (1960), Poynton (1979), Lavery (1986), Booth and McMurtrie (1988), Burdon and Miller (1992), Lewis and Ferguson (1993), Madgwick (1994) and Burdon (2000). P. radiata thrives in mild, mesic, oceanic climates in the latitudinal range 33-46°. It can tolerate annual rainfall as low as 300 mm, or even less if fogs bring occult precipitation, but generally needs 500 mm to be an economic crop. Productivity tends to increase strongly as precipitation increases towards 1000 mm. As precipitation exceeds 2000 mm, problems tend to arise with disease or leached soils, but some plantations have succeeded well with over 2500 mm. A winter rainfall pattern is generally conducive to tree health, but much of the area where the species is grown successfully, including many of the most productive sites, has a distributed rainfall. Freezing continental air masses are fatal if too cold or exposure too prolonged. Damp heat is very unfavourable, leading to disease. However, the species is unusually tolerant of 'white' frost (radiation frost, characterised by frozen dewfall) in the growing season (up to 6°C). Provenances vary in frost resistance (Hood and Libby, 1980; Burdon, 1992) and heritable tree-to-tree variation has also been shown (Menzies et al., 1987). Hail damage, which is often accompanied by damp heat, often leads to fatal infection by wound pathogens. Snowfalls, especially if wet, can be very damaging. Within this latitudinal zone, the upper altitudinal limit for successful planting generally ranges from 1250 m at 33°N to 400-500 m at 46°N. Prolonged drought, particularly with high temperatures, can be fatal. A secondary geographic 'window', in which plantations can be grown with some success, exists near the Equator (Burdon, 2000) at high altitudes, generally 2500-3500 m, and with moderate rainfall of 800-1200 mm per annum. Between the Equator and about 32°N, very few satisfactory sites exist, though isolated trees can often thrive where closed stands fail through disease.
Like most of the genus, P. radiata is relatively undemanding in its soil requirements, maintaining its performance well over microsite variations. However, it tends to require higher soil fertility than many pines, in accordance with its high growth potential and coastal origin. Apart from nitrogen being a frequent limiting factor, outright deficiencies have occurred in phosphorus, boron, magnesium, zinc, calcium, potassium, (contentiously) sulphur, copper, and (generally with high pH) manganese (Burdon, 2000). Fertilizers can generally be used effectively to correct these deficiencies. A wide range of soil textures is tolerated, from coarse vesicular material or gravelly or rocky soils, through sands and loams, to heavy clays, although some such tolerances are conditional upon climate. Deep, well-drained soils are preferred, particularly with abundant rainfall. Waterlogging is not tolerated. Partial waterlogging of clay soils in winter can lead to temporary instability of young trees which leads to permanent butt deformation. On fluvial gravels severe gales can cause widespread windthrow. Native provenances vary markedly in tolerance of certain infertile soils (Burdon, 1992, 2000; Burdon et al., 1997a, 1998). Such variation also exists at the individual-tree level. Physiography is seldom a limiting factor in itself, although it may be associated with outcropping rock, lack of cold air drainage on flats or in hollows, or drifting of snow. Preferences for aspect vary with climate, but are often weak.
Within its native range, P. radiata is generally the sole high-forest species. In Australia, P. radiata has invaded Eucalypt forests with a consequent reduction in species diversity (Luken and Thieret, 1997).
Latitude/Altitude RangesTop of page
|Latitude North (°N)||Latitude South (°S)||Altitude Lower (m)||Altitude Upper (m)|
Air TemperatureTop of page
|Parameter||Lower limit||Upper limit|
|Absolute minimum temperature (ºC)||-17|
|Mean annual temperature (ºC)||8||17|
|Mean maximum temperature of hottest month (ºC)||13||29|
|Mean minimum temperature of coldest month (ºC)||-3||10|
RainfallTop of page
|Parameter||Lower limit||Upper limit||Description|
|Dry season duration||0||6||number of consecutive months with <40 mm rainfall|
|Mean annual rainfall||350||2500||mm; lower/upper limits|
Rainfall RegimeTop of page
Soil TolerancesTop of page
Special soil tolerances
Notes on Natural EnemiesTop of page
Means of Movement and DispersalTop of page
Impact SummaryTop of page
|Fisheries / aquaculture||None|
Environmental ImpactTop of page
Impact: BiodiversityTop of page
Threatened SpeciesTop of page
Risk and Impact FactorsTop of page
- Proved invasive outside its native range
- Highly adaptable to different environments
- Tolerates, or benefits from, cultivation, browsing pressure, mutilation, fire etc
- Highly mobile locally
- Has high reproductive potential
- Has propagules that can remain viable for more than one year
- Damaged ecosystem services
- Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
- Reduced native biodiversity
- Competition - monopolizing resources
- Pest and disease transmission
- Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately
UsesTop of page
Publications dealing specifically with the wood properties of P. radiata are by Bamber and Burley (1983) and Kininmonth and Whitehouse (1991). The properties are reviewed briefly by Burdon and Miller (1992) and Burdon (2000). The wood of P. radiata is very versatile. It is put to a very wide range of uses, which include: light construction, finishing uses, joinery, furniture, veneers, use as poles for a variety of situations, making various reconstituted wood products, and both mechanical and chemical pulping. Most of the final crop is sawn into timber, with the residues used largely for pulping. There is considerable international trade in wood and wood products of P. radiata (Lewis and Ferguson, 1993), including unprocessed logs, sawn timber, pulp and paper, and a range of reconstituted wood products.
Use of miscellaneous non-wood products is reviewed by Burdon and Miller (1992) and Burdon (2000). Bark is widely burned as an energy source at large wood-processing plants. It is also used in horticulture, for mulches and for potting mixes. While it has quite a good tannin content, it appears not to have been used significantly for tannin extraction. Cones are popular as a domestic fuel. Edible fungi, in the form of fruiting bodies of mycorrhizal symbionts, are collected in Chile.
Uses ListTop of page
- Boundary, barrier or support
- Erosion control or dune stabilization
- Shade and shelter
- Carved material
- Essential oils
- Miscellaneous materials
Wood ProductsTop of page
- Long-fibre pulp
- Building poles
- Transmission poles
Sawn or hewn building timbers
- Carpentry/joinery (exterior/interior)
- Engineering structures
- For heavy construction
- For light construction
- Wall panelling
Wood extractives (including oil)
Wood gas (and other hydrocarbons
- Composite boards
- Gypsum board
- Improved wood
- Laminated veneer lumber
- Laminated wood
- Medium density fibreboard
- Oriented strand lumber
- Oriented strandboard
- Wood cement
- Industrial and domestic woodware
Prevention and ControlTop of page
Due to the variable regulations around (de)registration of pesticides, your national list of registered pesticides or relevant authority should be consulted to determine which products are legally allowed for use in your country when considering chemical control. Pesticides should always be used in a lawful manner, consistent with the product's label.Fire is a major hazard where there is a combination of high temperatures, low humidities and strong winds and whereas stands can carry fires readily, young trees are easily killed by ground fires, and crown fires are fatal. Pryor (1991) notes that fire is rarely specified as a potential control method for this species but could be a cheap and efficient technique. Weber (2003) suggests that mature trees are cut and then the area burned several months later to remove large numbers of seedlings. Hand pulling is effective for small numbers of seedlings and immature trees (Weber, 2003). The economic importance of P. radiata conflicts with any potential biological approach for control (Cronk and Fuller, 1995).
ReferencesTop of page
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