Pinus mugo, known as dwarf mountain pine,[4] mountain pine, scrub mountain pine, Swiss mountain pine,[5] bog pine, creeping pine,[6] or mugo pine,[7] is a species of conifer, native to high elevation habitats from southwestern to Central Europe and Southeast Europe.


The tree has dark green leaves ("needles") in pairs, 3–7 centimetres (1+142+34 inches) long.

The cones are nut-brown, 2.5–5.5 cm (1–2+18 in) long.


There are three subspecies:[8]

  • Pinus mugo subsp. mugo — in the east and south of the range (southern & eastern Alps, Balkan Peninsula), a low, shrubby, often multi-stemmed plant to 3–6 metres (10–20 feet) tall with matt-textured symmetrical cones, which are thin-scaled.
  • Pinus mugo subsp. uncinata — in the west and north of the range (from the Pyrenees northeast to Poland), a larger, usually single-stemmed tree to 20 m (66 ft) tall with glossy-textured asymmetrical cones, the scales of which are much thicker on the upper side.

    Some botanists treat the western subspecies as a separate species, Pinus uncinata, others as only a variety, P. mugo var. rostrata. This subspecies in the Pyrenees marks the alpine tree line or timberline, the edge of the habitat at which trees are capable of growing.

  • Pinus mugo subsp. rotundata — hybrid subspecies, of the two subspecies above that intergrade extensively in the western Alps and northern Carpathians.

An old name for the species, Pinus montana, is still occasionally seen, and a typographical error "mugho" (first made in a prominent 18th-century encyclopedia) is still often repeated.[citation needed]


Pinus mugo is native to the subalpine zones of the Pyrenees, Alps, Ore Mountains, Carpathians, northern and central Apennines, and higher Balkan Peninsula mountains – Rila, Pirin, Korab, Accursed Mountains, etc. It is usually found from 1,000–2,200 m (3,281–7,218 ft), occasionally as low as 200 m (656 ft) in the north of the range in Germany and Poland, and as high as 2,700 m (8,858 ft) in the south of the range in Bulgaria and the Pyrenees. Also in Kosovo it is found in Bjeshkët e Nemuna National Park.[citation needed]

In Scandinavia, Finland and the Baltic region, P. mugo was introduced in the late 1700s and the 1800s, when it was planted in coastal regions for sand dune stabilization, and later as ornamental plants around residences. In Denmark, Norway and Sweden, the species has naturalised and become invasive, displacing fragile dune and dune heath habitats. In Estonia and Lithuania P. mugo only occasionally naturalises outside plantations, sometimes establishing in raised bogs.[9]


Pinus mugo is classed as a wilding conifer, and spreads as an invasive species in the high country of New Zealand,[citation needed] coastal Denmark, and other areas of Scandinavia.


Pinus mugo is widely cultivated as an ornamental plant, for use as a small tree or shrub, planted in gardens and in larger pots and planters. It is also used in Japanese garden style landscapes, and for larger bonsai specimens. In Kosovo, its trunk is used as construction material for the vernacular architecture in the mountains called "Bosonica".[citation needed]


Numerous cultivars have been selected. The following have been given the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit:[10]

Cultivars with seasonal changes in foliage color include Pinus mugo 'Wintergold' and Pinus mugo 'Ophir'.


The mugo pine is used in cooking. The cones can be made into a syrup called "pinecone syrup",[15] "pine cone syrup",[16] or mugolio. Buds and young cones are harvested from the wild in the spring and left to dry in the sun over the summer and into autumn. The cones and buds gradually drip syrup, which is then boiled down to a concentrate and combined with sugar.[17][18] Alternatively, the pinecones can be macerated in sugar, fermented, and strained.[19]


See also


  1. ^ Farjon, A. (2017). "Pinus mugo". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2017: e.T42385A95729675. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2017-2.RLTS.T42385A95729675.en. Retrieved 13 April 2024.
  2. ^ "Pinus mugo (Mountain Pine)". BioLib. 1999–2010. Retrieved 15 July 2010.
  3. ^ "The Plant List: A Working List of All Plant Species".
  4. ^ BSBI List 2007 (xls). Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland. Archived from the original (xls) on 2015-06-26. Retrieved 2014-10-17.
  5. ^ "Pinus mugo". Germplasm Resources Information Network. Agricultural Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 14 December 2017.
  6. ^ Andersson, F. (2005). Coniferous Forests. Elsevier. ISBN 9780444816276.
  7. ^ USDA, NRCS (n.d.). "Pinus mugo". The PLANTS Database ( Greensboro, North Carolina: National Plant Data Team. Retrieved 31 January 2016.
  8. ^ Christensen, K.I. (1987). Taxonomic revision of the Pinus mugo complex and P. × rhaetica (P. mugo × sylvestris) (Pinaceae). Nordic Journal of Botany. 7: 383–408.
  9. ^ Henrik Jørgensen (25 October 2010). "NOBANIS – Invasive Alien Species Fact Sheet Pinus mugo" (PDF). NOBANIS - Online Database of the European Network on Invasive Alien Species. Retrieved 4 September 2020.
  10. ^ "AGM Plants - Ornamental" (PDF). Royal Horticultural Society. July 2017. p. 78. Retrieved 2 May 2018.
  11. ^ "RHS Plantfinder - Pinus mugo 'Humpy'". Retrieved 2 May 2018.
  12. ^ "Pinus mugo 'Kissen'". RHS. Retrieved 18 January 2021.
  13. ^ "RHS Plantfinder - Pinus mugo 'Mops'". Retrieved 2 May 2018.
  14. ^ "RHS Plantfinder - Pinus mugo 'Ophir'". Retrieved 2 May 2018.
  15. ^ "Piccolo Restaurant - Minneapolis: Menu". Retrieved 15 July 2010.
  16. ^ Colicchio, Tom (3 March 2009). "Tom Tuesday Dinner March 3, 2009". Tom Tuesday Dinner. Archived from the original (PNG) on 17 July 2011. Retrieved 15 July 2010.
  17. ^ "Wild Mugolio Pine Syrup". Zingerman's Mail Order. Zingerman's Mail Order LLC. 2010. Retrieved 15 July 2010.
  18. ^ "Wild Mugolio Pine Syrup". Cube Marketplace. Divine Pasta Company. 2008. Archived from the original on 29 October 2009. Retrieved 15 July 2010.
  19. ^ Bergo, Alan (2020-10-23). "Mugolio: Pine Cone Syrup". Forager | Chef. Retrieved 2024-03-13.


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