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Monumental Trees

Monumental Trees
The Aleppo pine is a coniferous species typical of Mediterranean environments, we can find it in the Conero Regional Park where it forms monospecific or mixed stands together with holm oak and other broad-leaved species. The specific epithet "halepensis" derives from Aleppo (Haleb) the city located in northern Syria.
It is a thermophilous plant that grows quickly and is very resistant to the summer drought periods typical of the Mediterranean climate. The bark (2) is initially grayish, then with age it tends to become reddish and crack. The needles (1) are grouped in groups of two and are light green, 6 to 12cm long. The male and female flowers are both present on the same plant and are formed between March and May with green and purple colors. The cones or pine cones (3) are oval and measure from 5 to 10 cm in length.
The Aleppo pine has a deep root system, with a very resistant central taproot and other superficially localized lateral roots.
This tree is autochthonous and has long been used in reforestation projects in much of the italian peninsula thanks to its rapid growth and its resistance to water stress conditions. Another important feature is having serotinous cones. The squama that compose the cones release the seeds that are dispersed when outside there are high temperatures produced by wildfires.
The specimen in front of you has been declared a "monumental tree", thanks to its remarkable size and its bearing. Unfortunately, in the Osimo’s archives is not possible to trace the age of the plant but we can assume that its age is between 120 and 130 years.
The quality of the wood is not good for firewood or timber but the plant offers other products. The resin of this tree is still extracted today, it is edible and is used in the preservation of foods. Furthermore, turpentine used in industries for the production of solvents, paints, glues and pharmaceutical preparations is extracted from the resin of this species. In Greece it is used to obtain the famous resin-coated wines. The seeds, on the other hand, are a fundamental ingredient for a typical Tunisian dish called "assidat zgougou" or cream of Aleppo pine seeds.
Photo: Matteo Natalucci Text: Tommaso Spilli
M. Ferrari e D. Medici (1998)  Alberi e Arbusti in italia. Manuale di Riconoscimento Edagricole.
San Miguel Ayaz,  J. de Rigo, D. Caudullo, G. Houston Durrant, T. A. (eds) 2016 European Atlas of Forest Tree Species. Publication Office of The European Union, Luxemburg

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