Quick Facts

Quick facts

  • Aleppo Pine (Pinus halepensis) is a very hardy tree species to 20 m tall with needle leaves in bundles of two, and woody cones 
  • Can survive in a wide variety of conditions
  • Infestations of Aleppo Pine, like other Pine species, can dramatically change the environmental conditions of an area.
  • The thick layer of pine needles prevent native species seedling establishment.
  • Control methods are the same as other Pine species and woody weeds.

What Does It Look Like?

What is it?

Aleppo Pine (Pinus halepensis) is a medium evergreen tree ranging from 5 to 25 meters tall. The trunk often divides half way up into two or more stems with narrowly fissured bark, purplish brown to grey-brown in colour. Many branches develop from these trunks giving the tree a broad crown which can be a flat-topped or domed shaped. The young branches are a silver grey that darkens, with age, to a purplish brown, red-brown or grey-black. The older bark develops narrow groves (furrows). The Aleppo Pine has needle like leaves arranged in pairs, enclosed in a light brown or greyish sheath at the base. The leaves are normally 5 – 9 cm long and often have a twist. However, leaves can sometimes up to 15 cm long. Winter buds 5–10 mm long, not resinous, bud scales are persistent, fringed, and apically recurved.

This species has no flowers but produces male and female cones on the same tree. 

The cylindrical soft male cones  are much smaller than female cones, clustered at the branch tips and are only present for a limited time, falling from the tree after large amounts of pollen is shed in to the air, dispersed via wind. 

The female cones are hard woody, brown, oval-shaped between 4–8 cm sometimes12 cm long, and 4 to 7 cm wide. The female cones bend back (deflect) on the branch and remains on the tree after the seeds have matured. It takes 2 to 3 years for the seeds to mature. Seeds are small and winged which helps for wind distribution (Navie 2004; Farjon 2005; Groves et al. 2005).

For further information and assistance with identification of Aleppo Pine contact the herbarium in your state or territory.

Flower colour

No flower

Growth form (weed type/habit)


Where it currently grows? Preferred habitat

Aleppo Pine is a very hardy species. It can withstand drought, poor drainage, excessive heat, high winds and some aerial salt. It grows well on dry rocky limestone soils and can tolerate both acid and alkaline soils (Farjon 2005; Groves et al. 2005; Will et al. 2007).

Are there similar species?

Aleppo Pine is commonly confused with Calabrian Pine (Pinus brutia). Aleppo Pine has leaves  (needles) in pairs that are  5 – 9 cm long compared with 7–12 cm in Calabrian Pine and Calabrian Pine never forms a flat crown which is a common identifying feature in older Aleppo Pines. The cones of Calabrian Pine are pendulous. 

Other pine species that can be confused with Aleppo Pine are: 

Maritime Pine (Pinus pinaster) also have leaves in pairs but have much longer leaves, greater than 15 cm. 

Radiata Pine (Pinus radiata) has leaves in 3s, unlike Aleepo Pine having leaves in pairs.

and Slash Pine (Pinus elliottii) with leaves in pairs or 3s but at least 15 cm or longer (Spencer 1995; Navie 2004; Farjon 2005).

Why Is It A Weed?

What are its impacts?

Aleppo pines often grow among woody vegetation due to seed voiding by perching birds, replacing native species especially along roadsides. Shedding of the needle-like leaves forms a thick layer of mulch, which has alellopathic effects inhibiting germination of many other species. The pines also present a fire hazard, with flammable cones and dead lower branches often retained on the trees for many years (Government of South Australia 2021). 

Agriculture / forestry: Giant pine scale (GPS) is a scale insect that sucks the sap of pine trees. It is native to the eastern Mediterranean region, specifically Greece and Turkey. It is now present in Australia originally found in 2014  in suburbs east of Melbourne and in Adelaide. Aleppo Pine a known host of GPS that threatens commercial soft wood plantations affecting some or all species of Abies (fir trees), Picea (spruce tree) and Pinus (pine trees). Reports from Europe indicate that large populations of giant pine scale can cause severe dehydration and dieback of branches. In some cases, this is followed by tree death. The pest has also caused defoliation of pines in parts of Italy and Turkey, with a significant impact in urban and forest environments (Government of South Australia undated). 

Native ecosystems: Aleppo Pine can have a dramatic effect on the environment. The thick pine leaf litter can reduce the fertility and change nutrient cycling in soils as well as changing the water cycle. This leaf litter will also create a thick layer that prevents seedling establishment, especially of native species, reducing plant biodiversity in an area (Muyt 2001).

Human impacts: Pine species in general can have an impact on human health. Physical contact with pine trees, air-borne pine pollen or pine dust can cause dermatitis and trigger asthma in sensitive people (Rademaker 2007).

How does it spread?

Aleppo Pine reproduces only from seed. It produces a large amount of seed which can be carried by the wind over large distances or dispersed by birds, particularly the Yellow Tailed Back Cockatoo (Muyt 2001; Navie 2004; Groves et al. 2005).

What is its history in Australia?

Aleppo Pine was common in nursery catalogues of the mid to late nineteenth century and was widely planted in parks and gardens as a shade tree. Cultivated and maintained trees are excluded from the declaration of the species as a weed in South Australia (Government of South Australia 2021).

Aleppo Pine and Calabrian Pine (Pinus brutia) are both cited as the species brought to Australia from Gallipoli as seed from the tree known as The Lone Pine (Spencer 1995; Heritage Victoria 2005; Will et al. 2007; Australian War Memorial undated; City of Melbourne undated; Yarralumla Nursery undated). The two species are relatively close in appearance and native distribution (Farjon 2005). Aleppo Pine is sold in nurseries with seedlings of The Lone Pine available for commemorative plantings. It is considered to be one of the 10 most invasive plants still for sale in nurseries in South Australia (Groves et al. 2005; Yarralumla Nursery undated).

How To Manage It?

Best practice management

Aleppo Pine control methods are similar to other Pine species and woody weeds. Control work should be planned to minimise disturbance to existing native vegetation. Controlled sites need to be monitored and follow-up treatment applied to re-sprouting stumps and seedlings.  Follow-up is essential as Aleppo pines have a high germination rate and seedlings can appear soon after adult trees are removed. The follow-up work should be undertaken before the seedlings reach sexual maturity at four years of age. 

Non-chemical control: Seedlings can be hand pulled or dug out as long as the main root is removed. Younger infestations may be treated by cutting with a brush-cutter (Government of South Australia 2021). Trees can be cut down or ringbarked without the need for herbicide use. Mechanical control of large trees appears to be an effective method of removal, with felled trees often pushed into large piles for burning. 

Fire: For large scale removal fire may be an appropriate tool however temperate is important as is follow up to prevent post fire regeneration (Muyt 2001).

Chemical control: Large standing trees may be stem-injected with herbicide. Younger infestations may be treated with herbicides, (Government of South Australia 2021). Younger Aleppo Pine infestations may be treated with foliar herbicide or by cutting with a brush-cutter or saw and applying herbicide. Aleppo pines must be cut as close to the ground as possible, all green needles need to be removed to ensure the stumps do not re-sprout. Swabbing the stump with herbicide immediately after cutting can increases the kill rate.

Please see the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority for chemical information http://www.apvma.gov.au

Does it have a biological control agent?


When does it grow? (lifecycle/growth calendar)

Little is known about the life cycle of Aleppo Pines. The female cones remain on the tree after the seeds have matured. It takes 2 to 3 years for the seeds to mature (Navie 2004; Farjon 2005).

Where Is It Found?

Which states and territories is it found?


What areas within states and territories is it found?

Widely grown in public parks Aleppo Pine has naturalised in South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales, and Western Australia. Aleppo Pine is also recorded growing in Tasmania, Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory (Spencer 1995; Navie 2004; Department of Water, Land and Biodiversity Conservation 2005; APC 2021; AVH 2021).

Where does it originate?

Aleppo Pine is known from around the Mediterranean and Western Asia (Farjon 2005; Groves et al. 2005). Aleppo Pine is generally replaced by Calabrian Pine (Pinus brutia) in the areas around the Aegean Sea, Black Sea and on the coast of Turkey (Frajon 2005).

National And State Weed Listings

Is it a Weed of National Significance (WONS)?


Where is it a declared weed?


Government weed strategies and lists – Weeds Australia

Is it on the National Alert List for Environmental Weeds?


Government weed strategies and lists – Weeds Australia

Is it on the Agricultural Sleeper List?


Government weed strategies and lists – Weeds Australia

Names And Taxonomy

Main scientific name

Pinus halepensis

Other scientific names (synonyms)?

Pinus nigra var. corsicana (Loudon) Hyl. (misapplied by Hill, K.D. 1998, Pinaceae. Flora of Australia. 48: 592, Map 528.; Hosking, J.R., Conn, B.J. & Lepschi, B.J. 2003, Plant species first recognised as naturalised for New South Wales over the period 2000-2001. Cunninghamia. 8(2): 177.)

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