Available Summer 2015 - A lovely rare Chinese pine, Pinus bungeana has cream, charcoal and grey patterned bark on mature specimens and needles which are very dark green in colour. There are remarkable examples of this slow-growing pine throughout Northern & Eastern China with fine specimen trees in the Forbidden City.
Pinus bungeana is a beautiful tree with some of the best ornamental bark available once established. However please bear in mind that it is exceptionally slow growing for at least the first ten years or so and therefore only suitable for a patient gardener!
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Of all the trees planted in our arboretum this will be the slowest to mature, but in many years time will perhaps rank as the most lovely. It often grows as a multi-stemmed tree and has breathtaking bark which becomes a marbled patchwork of grey-green, white, yellow, purple, brown and green when mature.
Pinus bungeana was first described in the west by Dr. Bunge in 1831 who found it planted round Buddhist Temples near Beijing. It grows wild in the mountains west of Beijing and southwards to Hupeh. Robert Fortune introduced it to the west in 1846. He later collected large quantities of seed and in 1864 advertised seed in the Gardener's Chronicle at 25 shillings an ounce, (£1.25p).
Although perfectly hardy in Britain it is very slow growing and prefers a warm site. The photograph above is of the bark of a beautiful old specimen growing in the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew that is now about 50 feet high. Very old plants in China may reach 80 feet or so.