Pinus merkusii Jungh. & de Vriese - PINACEAE

Synonym : Pinus tonkinensis A.Chev.
Pinus merkusii Jungh. & de Vriese var. tonkinensis (A.Chev.) Gausen

Common name : Black pine, 2-needled pine

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Botanical descriptions Habitat and ecology Distribution

Botanical descriptions :

Diagnostic characters : Pine with 2 needles per bundle. Fruit a cone.
Habit : Evergreen tree up to 30 m tall.
Trunk & bark : Bole straight, bark dark grey or blackish, deeply fissured, scaly.
Branches and branchlets or twigs : Twigs terete, glabrous.
Exudates : Exudate resinous.
Leaves : Leaves simple, needle-like, in bundles of two, on short woody stumps.
Stipules absent.
Inflorescences or flowers : Flowers arranged in a many-flowered inflorescence, unisexual, on the same tree, male in yellow catkins, female in thick woody cones.
Fruits : Cones up to 11 cm long, scaly, woody, scales with 4 - 5 angled pyramidal tips.
Seeds : Seeds many, with 1 thin wing.

Habitat and ecology :

Characteristic of the dry pine forest up to 1000 m altitude.

Distribution :

Burma (Myanmar), China (South), Indochina, Indonesia (Sumatra), Philippines, Thailand, Laos (Khammouan).

Remark/notes/uses :
Some texts restrict the distribution of Pinus merkusii to the Philippines and Indonesia; populations in mainland South East Asia, including those in Lao PDR are then referred to as Pinus latteri Manson.
The wood is very valuable for construction, flooring and boats. The resin is used in paints and for various medicinal purposes.
There are two other species of Pinus known from Lao PDR:
Pinus kesiya has 3 needles and is mainly found in northern Lao at altitudes above 1000m.
Pinus dalatensis has 5 needles and is known from high parts of Xekong and Khammouan along the border with Vietnam.

Specimens studied :
BT 186, LAO 235, LAO 725, LAO 805, LAO 888, LAO 1313, LAO 1386 (Herbarium of Faculty of Sciences-NUoL, NHN-Leiden and CIRAD-Montpellier).

Literature :
Gardner S., Sidisunthorn, P. & Anusarnsunthorn, V. 2000. A field guide to Forest Trees of Northern Thailand. Kobfai Publishing Project. Bangkok. Thailand.
Hoang Van Sam, Khamseng Nanthavong & P.J.A. Keßler. 2004. Trees of Laos and Vietnam. Blumea 49: 201--349.

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