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Japanese white pine

Needles of Japanese white pine.

Japanese white pine is a dense, slow-growing evergreen with a smaller stature which makes it an excellent specimen for small landscapes or space restrictions.

This plant has some cultivated varieties. Go to list of cultivars.


Botanical name:

Pinus parviflora

All common names:

Japanese white pine

Family (English):


Family (Botanic):


Planting Site:

  • Residential and parks

Tree or Plant Type:

  • Tree


  • Evergreen (foliage year-round)

Native Locale:

  • Non-native

Landscape Uses:

  • Shade tree,
  • Specimen

Size Range:

  • Large tree (more than 40 feet),
  • medium tree (25-40 feet)

Mature Height:

25-50 feet

Mature Width:

25-50 feet

Light Exposure:

  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

Hardiness Zones:

  • Zone 4,
  • Zone 5 (Chicago),
  • Zone 6,
  • Zone 7

Soil Preference:

  • Moist, well-drained soil


  • Occasional drought,
  • Alkaline soil,
  • Clay soil,
  • Road salt

Acid Soils:

  • Tolerant

Alkaline Soils:

  • Moderately Tolerant

Salt Spray:

  • Tolerant

Soil Salt:

  • Intolerant

Drought Conditions:

  • Moderately Tolerant

Poor Drainage:

  • Intolerant

Planting Considerations:

  • May be difficult to find in nurseries

Ornamental Interest:

  • Edible fruit

Seasons of Interest:

  • early winter,
  • midwinter,
  • late winter,
  • early spring,
  • mid spring,
  • late spring,
  • early summer,
  • midsummer,
  • late summer,
  • early fall,
  • mid fall,
  • late fall

Flower Color & Fragrance:

  • Inconspicuous

Shape or Form:

  • Broad,
  • Pyramidal

Growth Rate:

  • Slow

Transplants Well:

  • Yes

More Information:

Tree & Plant Care

Best in full sun, relatively tolerant of most soils as long as well-drained.
omewhat tolerant of salt.
Slow growing.

Disease, pests, and problems

Can suffer from insects and disease when stressed.
Susceptible to a number of diseases including Diplodia tip blight, needle casts, and pine wilt.

Japanese white pine (Pinus parviflora)
Japanese white pine (Pinus parviflora)
photo: John Hagstrom
Susceptible to a number of pests including pine sawfly, pine needle scale and Zimmerman pine moth.

Native geographic location and habitat

Native to Japan

Bark color and texture 

Smooth, gray-green when young, older bark dark gray, and scaly.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Fine textured, 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 inches long, bluish-green needles are in bundles of 5.
Needles are stiff and twisted and appear brush-like tufts on strong horizontal branches.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Monoecious, small, yellow-green flowers in clusters in May.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

The 2 to 4 inch long cylindrical cones are thick, leathery, near terminal ends of branches.
Cones are abundant, even on young trees and persist for years on the tree.

Cultivars and their differences

Bergman Japanese White Pine (Pinus parviflora 'Bergman'):  A more compact cultivar (15 to 20 feet high), with twisted blue-green needles.

Glauca Japanese White Pine (Pinus parviflora 'Glauca'):  A cultivar with blue needles.

Location of Pinus parviflora (Japanese white pine) at the Arboretum