Tree ID by pine needles

Pine tree leaves consist of clusters of needles. The clusters may arranged closely together and be difficult to distinguish as in this photo of a Scots Pine stem but one 2-needle cluster has been extracted. For a full description of the Scots Pine click HERE.
To go back to Conifer Leaf Key click HERE .
Pine trees can be identified by how many needles are in each cluster and the colour and length of the needles. 
Tree ID by pine needles – Here are Seven 2-needle pines – Mountain Pine, Austrian Pine,  Corsican Pine, Lodgepole Pine,  Scots Pine,  Stone Pine,  Bishop Pine, one 3-needle pine – Monterey Pine and three 5-needle pines – Arolla Pine, Bhutan Pine, Weymouth Pine. Click on any photo to enlarge it.
Because some of the needle clusters are similar, you may also need to look at the cones on the tree. To go to the Pine Tree Cone Key click HERE .  
mountain pine needles

MOUNTAIN PINE – 2 needles very short (4-6cm)

Scots pine needles

SCOTS PINE – 2 needles blue green, short (5-7cm)

Lodgepole Pine needles

LODGEPOLE PINE – 2 needles, mid green, medium (6-10cm)

Austria Pine needles

AUSTRIAN PINE – 2 needles dark green, medium (8-14cm)

Stone Pine needles

STONE PINE – 2 needles, long (12-16cm)

Corsican Pine needles

CORSICAN PINE – 2 needles dark green, long (12-18cm)

Bishop Pine needles

BISHOP PINE – 2 needles, medium (8-15cm)

Monterey Pine needles

MONTEREY PINE – 3 needles, long (10-16cm)

Arolla Pine needles

AROLLA PINE – 5 needles, medium (7-9cm)

Bhutan Pine needles

BHUTAN PINE – 5 needles, silky, long (10-20cm)

Weymouth Pine needles

WEYMOUTH PINE – 5 needles, medium (8-12cm)

Conifer leaves are reduced in size, compared with Broadleaf leaves, and adapted to withstand harsh dry conditions. They take two forms, needles or scales. They are compact with photosynthetic tissue surrounding a central vein, protected by a thick layer of cells and a waxy cuticle. They shed snow easily and conserve water.

Needles – The leaves of Pines, ‘true’ Cedars, Larches, Spruces, Firs and the Common Juniper are long and thin and needle-like and are simply called needles. Pine needles are bundled together, usually in clusters of 2,3 or 5. The number in the bundle can help to ID the tree. The needles are joined at the base near the shoot and the bundle of needles is called a fascicle. Where the fascicle joins the shoot there is a basal sheath which is initially transparent. Individual Spruce and Fir needles are arranged in ranks on either side of the shoot. In some the needles are in flat ranks but in others they may stick out in all directions. On some needles there are lines of white dots. These are called stomata. They are pores which allow gases to pass in and out of the leaves. The pattern of dots can be used to ID Conifer Trees. Larch and ‘true’ Cedar needles are in clusters of 20 to 45 on short shoots called spurs. The leaves of the Common Juniper are needle-like and finely pointed.

Scales  Conifer leaves may also be shaped like a scale on a fish or reptile. Cypresses have overlapping scale-like leaves that cover the shoot as in the Lawson Cypress. Sometimes these leaves are just called scale-leaves. Some conifers have main shoots that are covered in long, dark green leaves that resemble scales as in the Giant Sequoia. Some Cypresses have scale leaves that are very closely pressed to the shoot as on the Italian Cypress,