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Pinus parviflora: Japanese White Pine1

Edward F. Gilman and Dennis G. Watson 2


Japanese white pine creates a striking landscape element wherever it is used. Often seen as a dense, conical form when young, Japanese white pine develops into a 25- to 50-foot-tall, graceful, irregularly-shaped tree, with an equal or greater spread, and a broad, flattened canopy. The 1- to 2.5-inch-long needles are stiff and twisted, forming blue/green tufts of foliage at branch tips, and creating an overall fine texture to the tree's silhouette. The brownish-red cones are one to 4-inches-long and persist on the tree for 6- to 7-years.

Figure 1. Young Pinus parviflora: Japanese White Pine
Figure 1.  Young Pinus parviflora: Japanese White Pine

General Information

Scientific name: Pinus parviflora
Pronunciation: PIE-nus par-vih-FLOR-uh
Common name(s): Japanese white pine
Family: Pinaceae
USDA hardiness zones: 4B through 7A (Fig. 2)
Origin: not native to North America
Invasive potential: little invasive potential
Uses: specimen; screen; bonsai
Availability: somewhat available, may have to go out of the region to find the tree

Figure 2. Range
Figure 2.  Range


Height: 25 to 50 feet
Spread: 25 to 50 feet
Crown uniformity: irregular
Crown shape: pyramidal, spreading
Crown density: dense
Growth rate: slow
Texture: fine


Leaf arrangement: alternate (Fig. 3)
Leaf type: simple
Leaf margin: entire
Leaf shape: needle-like (filiform)
Leaf venation: parallel
Leaf type and persistence: needled evergreen, evergreen, fragrant
Leaf blade length: less than 2 inches, 2 to 4 inches
Leaf color: blue or blue-green, green
Fall color: no color change
Fall characteristic: not showy

Figure 3. Foliage
Figure 3.  Foliage


Flower color: yellow
Flower characteristics: not showy


Fruit shape: oval, cone
Fruit length: 1 to 3 inches, 3 to 6 inches
Fruit covering: dry or hard
Fruit color: red, brown
Fruit characteristics: does not attract wildlife; showy; fruit/leaves a litter problem

Trunk and Branches

Trunk/bark/branches: branches droop; not showy; typically one trunk; thorns
Pruning requirement: little required
Breakage: susceptible to breakage
Current year twig color: green, brown
Current year twig thickness: medium
Wood specific gravity: unknown


Light requirement: full sun
Soil tolerances: clay; sand; loam; acidic; well-drained
Drought tolerance: moderate
Aerosol salt tolerance: high


Roots: not a problem
Winter interest: yes
Outstanding tree: yes
Ozone sensitivity: sensitive
Verticillium wilt susceptibility: resistant
Pest resistance: sensitive to pests/diseases

Use and Management

When looking for a small, picturesque specimen pine for a coastal landscape, search no more. One of the best specimens in any landscape, Japanese white pine is a pleasure to behold with attractive foliage in all seasons. Set it off in the landscape with a low ground cover beneath or locate it in the lawn, but keep the grass cleared away from the thin-barked trunk.

Japanese white pine should be grown in full sun on well-drained soil with adequate moisture. The trees are salt-tolerant, and tolerate moderate drought and moist, clay soil.

Cultivars include: 'Brevifolia', upright, narrow tree, sparsely branched, blue/green foliage in tight bundles; and 'Glauca', available in nurseries, greenish foliage with a touch of silver, wide-spreading tree, 45 feet high or more.

Propagation is by seed.

Pests and Diseases

There are a large number of pests and diseases on pine.


1. This document is ENH-629, one of a series of the Environmental Horticulture Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date November 1993. Revised December 2006. Reviewed February 2014. Visit the EDIS website at
2. Edward F. Gilman, professor, Environmental Horticulture Department; and Dennis G. Watson, former associate professor, Agricultural Engineering Department, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.

Publication #ENH-629

Release Date:April 1, 2015

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