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Swiss stone pine

Branches and cone of Swiss stone pine.

Swiss stone pine is a dense, narrow pyramidal evergreen tree that provides dark green color in the landscape. Native to the mountains of Europe and Asia. A picturesque evergreen for the smaller landscape.

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

Botanical name:

Pinus cembra

All common names:

Swiss stone pine, arolla 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:

30-40 feet

Mature Width:

15-25 feet

Light Exposure:

  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily),
  • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)

Hardiness Zones:

  • Zone 3,
  • Zone 4,
  • Zone 5 (Chicago),
  • Zone 6,
  • Zone 7

Soil Preference:

  • Moist, well-drained soil


  • Dry sites,
  • Occasional drought,
  • Alkaline soil

Acid Soils:

  • Tolerant

Alkaline Soils:

  • Tolerant

Salt Spray:

  • Tolerant

Soil Salt:

  • Intolerant

Drought Conditions:

  • Tolerant

Poor Drainage:

  • Intolerant

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:

  • Columnar,
  • Narrow,
  • Pyramidal,
  • Upright

Growth Rate:

  • Slow

Transplants Well:

  • No


  • Small mammals

More Information:

Tree & Plant Care

Best sited in  a well-drained, loamy soil in an open areas in full sun.
ransplants well, needs little pruning for a strong structure.
Due to its slow growth rate, this is an excellent choice for small landscapes.

Disease, pests, and problems

Resistant to most pests and diseases.

Native geographic location and habitat

Native to mountains of Europe and parts of Asia.

Bark color and texture 

Mature branches are dark with scaly plates.
New stems orange-brown

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Stiff, but soft 3 inch long needles in bundles of 5, with a blue green to light green color.
Sometimes needles are twisted.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Flowers are not ornamentally important.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

Terminal, 2 to 3 inch long cones do not open on the tree but require 3 years to mature and drop in the spring.

Cultivars and their differences 

Prairie Statesman® Swiss stone pine (Pinus cembra 'Herman'): A very upright habit (30 feet high and 15 feet wide) with emerald green needles; very cold hardy and drought tolerant.

Stricta Swiss stone pine (Pinus cembra 'Stricta')- A columnar form of the species, with blue-green needles and a dense, narrow habit.  Sometimes sold under the name 'Columnaris'.

Location of Pinus cembra (Swiss stone pine) at the Arboretum