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Tree Campus: Swiss Mountain Pine

Tree Campus SCC is a multi-year and interdisciplinary college initiative to document, map, and celebrate the incredible diversity of trees planted on the campus. With over 200 species, Shoreline Community College is an arboreal paradise that deserves to b


Swiss Mountain Pine

Pinus cembra (PINACEAE)



Central Europe



"Picea abies, Pinus sytvestris and Pinus cembra are important trees forming the evergreen component of the forest up to the timberline in the Alps. In terms of altitudinal zonation, Pinus sylvestris is most important in the continental mountain zone, Picea abies in the subalpine zone and Pinus cembra in the suprasubalpine zone. Needle life and needle thickness increase with altitude.

The epicuticular wax layer is the outermost coating of the needles. It is one of the xeromorphic features which permit conifers to survive under unfavourable conditions, such as temporary drought, high radiation, heat, wind, snow, and frost. Gas exchange of the needles is regulated and filtered through the epicuticular wax filling the external stomatal cavity...

Pathogenic and saprophytic fungi attacking needles are immediately confronted with needle waxes." [1]


Equity: Cultural and Historical Significance

"The distribution of P. cembra is strongly affected by past human activities and their remarkable impact on the subalpine forests. Past disturbances, mainly ungulate grazing and uprooting have strongly reduced its presence and also lowered the treeline ecotone. Human activities at higher altitudinal levels have significantly decreased following the radical changes in the economic and social structure of the alpine valleys during the 20th century. This has favored the still on going expansion of P. cembra as a secondary succession dynamic." [3]



"...Pinus cembra bark and needles contain phytochemicals of putative therapeutic interest with respect to antioxidant and antimicrobial effects. These compounds may have the possibility of serving as prototype structures for more potent derivatives." [2]

"Beside its biodiversity-endemic value and its use as a quality wood, P. cembra offers protection against avalanches and landslides thanks to its unique ability to grow at altitude and in exposed sites where no other tree species survive." [3]



[1] Günthardt‐Goerg, M. S. (1986). Epicuticular wax of needles of Pinus cembra, Pinus sylvestris and Picea abies. European journal of forest pathology, 16(7), 400-408.

[2] Apetrei, C. L., Tuchilus, C., Aprotosoaie, A. C., Oprea, A., Malterud, K. E., & Miron, A. (2011). Chemical, antioxidant and antimicrobial investigations of Pinus cembra L. bark and needles. Molecules, 16(9), 7773-7788.

[3] Casalegno, S., Amatulli, G., Camia, A., Nelson, A., & Pekkarinen, A. (2010). Vulnerability of Pinus cembra L. in the Alps and the Carpathian mountains under present and future climates. Forest Ecology and Management, 259(4), 750-761.

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