Broadly domed tree to 20 m or so tall. Mature trees often appear swept to one side or leaning, with the trunk bent and the crown sometimes flattened and generally dense with persistent cones. Branches widespreading, grey. Bark mostly grey-black and narrowly fissured in old trees, orangish when the bark below the surface is exposed. Buds conical, not resinous; scales curled back and fringed. Young shoots grey, smooth, with only minute scale leaves. Leaves in 2's, slender, 6-10 or rarely 12 cm long, often curved and twisted, bright glossy green with a basal sheath to 1 cm long. Male cones broadly cylindrical, Sept. Cones ovoid-conical 5-11 cm long, hanging downwards but bent back along the branch, often in clusters and frequently closed for several years and remaining on the tree; stalk thick, 1-3 cm long. Seeds about 6 mm long.
Grows naturally throughout the Mediterranean countries mostly on dry rocky-limestone sites. Widely grown in public parks and gardens and cemeteries as a shade tree and windbreak especially in north-western Victoria and parts of South Australia where the climate and soils appear more suited to this species than P. radiata. Naturalised in South Australia and Queensland, the dunes at coastal Barwon Heads, Victoria, also on the Cape of S Africa and the North and South Islands of New Zealand.
Mediterranean (Greece &Israel to Spain and Morocco).
Resin used to flavour the wine called Retsina and originally used to prevent wine from turning sour. A weeping variant is available in the trade.
Branches and branchlets grey; leaves in dispersed bundles; cones generally numerous in persistent clusters in the crown, frequently bent back on a long stalk to be more or less parallel with the branch and often not opening for several years, cone scale tips flattish.
SA: Adelaide (just inside entrance to zoo); Mt Gambier (Bot. Gds); Penola (Yallum Park). ACT: Parkes (E Nerang Pool, Commonwealth Park); Reid (St John's Church); Westbourne Woods (several groups); Yarralumla (Entrance to Government House). VIC: Creswick (Forestry School); Domain (2 trees directly in front of La Trobe's Cottage); Geelong (Eastern Park); Dandenongs ('Pirianda'); Fyansford (State School, naturalised nearby); Korumburra (Public Park); Mildura (Deakin Ave, Anglican Church); Rutherglen (Great Western Winery); Yarraville (Yarraville Gds, several); Kew (Victoria Park). TAS: Hobart (Government House).
Source: (1995). Pinaceae. In: . Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 1, Ferns, conifers & their allies. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.