Corsican pine (CP)

Pinus nigra ssp. laricio (Syn. P. nigra var. maritima)

Native range

Native to Corsica. Related black pine species (e.g. Calabrian pine) are found in Italy and Spain but do not have as good form.

Provenance choice

The best seed sources are from good British seed stands or imports from Corsica.

Site requirements

A light demanding pioneer species with the best growth found on acid freely draining sandy loams. Requires a warm summer climate, tolerates heat and drought, windfirm but susceptible to frost damage, therefore best suited to the drier lowland areas of Britain where it produces higher volumes than other pines. Will grow on most soils except moist or compacted ones, and will grow on calcareous soils provided these are well drained. It tolerates exposure and pollution and will grow well on sand dunes provided it is not directly exposed to salt spray.

Pests and pathogens

Corsican pine is very susceptible to red band needle blight, and is currently not recommended for planting because of the impact of this disease. Lophodermella needle disease and shoot dieback caused by Brunchorstia are also widespread on Corsican pine of all ages although much less damaging than red band needle blight. Like Scots pine, Corsican can also suffer root and butt rot caused by Heterobasidion, with occasional mortality of young trees.

Shoot killing by pine-shoot beetle (Tomicus piniperda) can also reach significant levels in Corsican pine.

Use

A species that was predicted to increase in importance with climate change, but its current vulnerability to red band needle blight means that its future role is very uncertain.

Austrian black pine (P. nigra ssp. nigra) shows greater tolerance of chalk and limestone, and also withstands exposure. However, it is not as vigorous as and has poorer form than Corsican pine and so would only be used in special situations.