Pinus parviflora Siebold & Zucc.

Japanese White Pine

Tree to 10 m or so tall. Buds ovoid about 5 mm long, slightly resinous. Young shoots greenish grey-brown. Leaves in 5's, 4-7 cm long, thin, twisted and curved, inner surface with 3-4 white lines giving the foliage a variegated appearance; sheaths deciduous. Cones mostly 4-6 cm long, 3 cm wide, soft, ovoid, persistent; scales leathery and reflexed. Seed 1 cm long with a small wing.

A common tree of mountain forests of Japan above 1500 m. Grown chiefly for the ornamental dwarf cultivars used in bonsai and on rockeries. Specialist nurseries supply up to 20 cultivars with minor differences but there seems little point in including all these. The accumulation of cultivar names in this species, often signifying only provenances and also subject to quite wide individual variation, means that the use of simple morphological differences to distinguish them is unreliable, especially as cultivars are sometimes not grown on their own rootstocks. This situation will soon have to be addressed taxonomically. The word 'goyo' in many names is Japanese for 'five-needle pine'.


White-faced blunt leaves; cone scales bent backwards when open. Similar to P. quadrifolia but lacking its distinctive curled-back leaf sheaths and cones different.

VIC: Sunshine (McKay Gds). TAS: Hobart (Royal Tasmanian Bot. Gds, Japanese Garden).

Source: Spencer, R. (1995). Pinaceae. In: Spencer, R.. 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.

Distribution map

Pinus parviflora 'Adcocks Dwarf'

Globose with short bent-back leaves. Raised from seed by g. Adcock, Head Propagator for Hillier &Son, Winchester, UK.

Pinus parviflora 'Brevifolia'

('Ha-tzumari-goyo' is probably identical with this). A slow-growing tree with tight custers of waxy blue leaves about 2.5 cm long and cones produced even when tree quite young. Used mostly as an ornamental pine for rockeries and bonsai. Raised Barbier & Son, nurserymen, Orléans, France.

Pinus parviflora 'Fuku-zu-mi'

Low, spreading dwarf with leaves silvery blue and bent back. Origin Japan.

Pinus parviflora 'Shikoku-goyo'

Short needles and rough bark, excellent for bonsai. Collected Shikoku Is, Japan.

kingdom Plantae
phylum   Tracheophyta
class    Pinopsida
order     Pinales
family      Pinaceae
genus       Pinus L.