Classification, origin and diffusion
The hooked pine is a plant native to the mountains of southern and western Europe (Pyrenees, Massif Central, Jura, Vosges, Black Forest, Central and Western Alps). It is an alpine species with a cold-continental climate. It prefers calcareous or mixed substrates, and colonizes rocky and rich debris slopes. Sometimes it forms very large pine forests. In Italy it is present from the Maritime Alps to Ortler, in the province of Sondrio.
Hook pine - Pinus uncinata L. (photo www.euita.upv.es)
1. Appearance of the tree
2. Sprig with ripe pine cones, male yellow and female cones with purplish-red apex
3. Pine cone scale
4. Winged seed
Size and bearing
Tree of modest size (rarely exceeds 20 meters), with dense, dark green foliage, with the ends of the branches facing upwards.
Trunk and bark
Straight trunk, slender, covered with gray rind, opaque, wrinkled when young then thickly furrowed in small surettangular plates.
Needles in pairs, from 1.3 to 4 mm long, pungent, slightly curved, of an intense green color.
Yellow male cones, small and numerous at the base of the shoots; female cones, first globose then elongated (4-5 cm) with red-violet tip. The scales of the pine cones, especially the lower ones, have a very protruding apophysis, with evident longitudinal hull and umbo folded down at the bottom with a hook.
From its buds, such as from the mountain pine, the mugolio is extracted, an essential oil with a balsamic action, indicated for the treatment of respiratory diseases.