The domestic pine is an evergreen tree species that can reach 25 metres in height; it proves to be long-lived and can live up to 200-250 years.
The stem is straight with grey-red bark and cracked in large plates. During the growth the plant tends to lose the lower branches and remain the most apical ones that make the foliage of the adult specimens assume a characteristic umbrella shape. The roots are robust and superficial.
The needles are 10-15 cm long and have a bright green color. They are rigid and gathered in bundles of 2; they can remain on the plant for 2-3 years.
The species is monoecious and therefore the male and female flowers are found on the same plant; these grow between February and April. The male ones form yellow strobili while the female ones appear red-violet. The pollen is carried by the wind.
After the fecundation the female strobili become woody and turn into the typical cones; these are sessile and isolated cones, formed by woody scales. Once ripe, they are 8-15 cm long and have ovoid shape; they have flat scales that support two large seeds. Pine cones remain on the tree for about 3 years.
The species prefers dry, arid and barren climates and grows in any type of soil; it is found especially along the coasts but can go exceptionally up to 600 m of altitude. It has a mosaic distribution around the northern and eastern Mediterranean. In Italy it represents a traditional element of the landscape, so much so as to be a symbol.
It has always had a strong economic importance and is thought that its current distribution has been influenced by man. This tree has been cultivated since Roman times for timber (used for building and naval purposes), for resin, but especially for the seed, or pine nuts (hence the Latin name 'pinea').
Fragments of cones and charred wood from the Domestic Pine have been found in settlements dating back 50,000 years.
The domestic pine is used for reforestation; the vast pine forests of the Italian coast, made only by domestic pine, are all the result of artificial plants. This tree was then planted for ornamental purposes in parks and gardens around the world.