Pinus mugo 

Scope: Global & Europe
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Plantae Tracheophyta Pinopsida Pinales Pinaceae

Scientific Name: Pinus mugo Turra
Infra-specific Taxa Assessed:
Common Name(s):
English Dwarf Mountain Pine, Mountain Pine, Mugo Pine
French Pin de montagne
Pinus montana Mill.
Pinus mughus Scop.
Pinus mugo Turra subsp. mugo
Pinus mugo Turra subsp. rotundata (Link) Janch. & H.Neumayer
Taxonomic Source(s): Farjon, A. 2010. A Handbook of the World's Conifers. Koninklijke Brill, Leiden.
Taxonomic Notes: This species has received more names than any other conifer, some of these are still in use especially in eastern Europe. For a comprehensive list of synonyms see Farjon (2001).

Here, only two subspecies are recognized in the species: the typical subspecies, subsp. mugo and subsp. rotundata. The closely related species P. uncinata is treated as distinct at that rank. The typical subspecies (subsp. mugo) is relatively widespread and is not regarded as threatened. However, subsp. rotundata has a more restricted distribution and is confined to mid-elevation peat bogs. Draining and afforestation have reduced its area of occupancy to such an extent that it has been assessed separately.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2017
Date Assessed: 2016-08-22
Assessor(s): Farjon, A.
Reviewer(s): Thomas, P. & Allen, D.J.
Contributor(s): Chadburn, H.
Global and European regional assessment: Least Concern (LC)
EU 28 regional assessment: Least Concern (LC)

As this pine is widespread, with a large extent of occurrence (EOO), area of occupancy (AOO) and population, and in most cases occurs in areas where it is not threatened by human activities, and has few significant declines, it is assessed as Least Concern. Pinus mugo subsp. rotundata has a much more limited distribution and is restricted to mid-elevation peat bogs. Habitat loss due to afforestation and drainage has resulted in a reduction in its AOO and this subspecies has been assessed as Endangered. However, as this subspecies represents a relatively small part of the global population of Pinus mugo, the overall assessment for the species does not change.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This pine is recorded from the French Alps, northern and central Italy (with an isolated population in the central Italian Apennines), Austria, Switzerland, southern Germany, Czech Republic, southern Poland and Slovakia. In southeastern Europe it is found in northern Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, western Bulgaria, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia and east to Ukraine.

This is a montane species with concentrations in the Alps and Carpathians (Frankis and Earle 1999, Farjon 2010a,b; Schmidt 2011, Farjon and Filer 2013, GRIN 2014).
Countries occurrence:
Albania; Austria; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Bulgaria; Croatia; Czech Republic; France (France (mainland)); Germany; Italy (Italy (mainland)); Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of; Montenegro; Poland; Romania; Serbia (Kosovo, Serbia); Slovakia; Slovenia; Switzerland; Ukraine (Ukraine (main part))
Additional data:
Lower elevation limit (metres):600
Upper elevation limit (metres):2700
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:This pine is very common at and above the treeline in montane areas and the population is inferred to be large and stable.
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:
Continuing decline of mature individuals:No
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:The species has two principal growth forms, commonly recognized as distinct taxa: a shrub-like, sometimes nearly decumbent form (subsp. mugo) and an upright shrub or erect tree (subsp. rotundata), which occupy different habitats. The shrubby form grows on mountain slopes and ridges generally from about 1,000 m to 2,300 m a.s.l. in the mountain ranges of Europe most exposed to storms associated with depression systems in the North Atlantic. Especially in the Carpathians, it forms dense mat-like thickets above montane forests dominated by Fagus or Picea; in the western Alps the upright form (subspecies) dominates on nutrient poor slopes. Pinus mugo in the eastern Alps may have replaced original Larch-Arolla pine woods which were disturbed by human activities and grazing of their animals.

The species often occurs on dolomite limestone, but is in fact indifferent to soil type; this prevalence probably has historical reasons. While upright stands of P. mugo subsp. rotundata can have fairly rich plant communities, the species associated with the decumbent subsp. mugo are much fewer due to harsh environmental conditions, such as exposure and long-lasting snow cover. Pinus mugo subsp. rotundata occurs mostly in and around peat bogs and its habit, from shrub to upright tree, seems to depend on soil drainage with the low shrub form in wet moor habitat.
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:No
Generation Length (years):40

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: The shrubby subspecies (mugo) of Dwarf Mountain Pine has been used in some parts of northern Europe to stabilize drifting sand dunes and as initial shelter belts for plantations with Scots Pine in similar sandy areas. In horticulture it is mainly planted in spaces created by roundabouts and other types of road intersection, both in Europe and in the USA. For gardens many cultivars that remain more dwarfish than the subspecies mugo have been and are being selected, and some of these are suitable in larger rock gardens as they grow very slowly. For this reason this species has also been used in bonsai culture. The tree form (subsp. rotundata) is too uncommon and also grows too slowly to be of importance as a timber tree. Its horticultural interest is limited to arboreta, where it is often labelled as a distinct species (P. uncinata) and can grow into an erect small tree. Hybrids have been described between subsp. mugo and subsp. rotundata, and such plants may also occasionally be in cultivation.

As with other pines, this species produces a resin that has some medicinal uses. The turpentine obtained from the resin of all pines is considered antiseptic and diuretic. It is used internally in the treatment of kidney and bladder complaints and as a rub and steam bath in the treatment of rheumatic disorders. In the form of liniment plasters, poultices, herbal steam baths and inhalers it is also used for respiratory complaints such as coughs and colds and a variety of skin problems, such as sores and boils. An essential oil obtained from the young twigs is used medicinally and also in woody perfumeries.A vanillin flavouring is obtained as a by-product of other resins that are released from the pulpwood. Pitch could also be obtained from the resin and a tan or green dye obtained from the needles and the wood has reportedly been used to make shoes (Plants for a Future 2014). A herbal tea is also made from the needles in Bulgaria (Frankis and Earle 1999).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): No significant, range-wide threats have been identified for this species or for P. mugo subsp. mugo. Tourist and recreation-related developments (e.g. ski resorts and ski runs) could have some effect at a very localized level and acid rain in the eastern parts of its range may also be a problem (Boratynski et al. 2009).

Pinus mugo subsp. rotundata has a more limited distribution than the typical subspecies and is also restricted to peat bogs. Many of these have been drained and afforested with Picea abies. As a result this subspecies has been assessed as Endangered (see Farjon 2013).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species is recorded from more than 50 Natura 2000 protected areas throughout its range (EUNIS 2014), such as the Tatry National Park in Poland. It has been planted ornamentally and it is conserved ex situ in 154 botanic gardens worldwide (BCGI 2013). Seed is conserved in seedbanks, such as in Paver, Italy (ENSCO 2014).

The subspecies rotundata is in need of conservation action (Farjon 2013).

Citation: Farjon, A. 2017. Pinus mugo. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T42385A95729675. . Downloaded on 21 August 2018.
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