Virtues: We love lacebark pine (Pinus bungeana) for its tall, pyramidal habit and its beautiful exfoliating bark. Lacebark pine is an evergreen tree that provides additional winter interest with its bark and pine cones. It can be counted among deer resistant plants.
Common name: Lacebark pine
Botanical name: Pinus bungeana
Foliage: Dark green evergreen needles. Overall, a soft-textured evergreen tree.
Bark: As lacebark pine matures, it develops exfoliating (peeling) bark that reveals patches of white, green and purple skin, somewhat resembling army camouflage and setting it apart from other pine trees. It can take 10 years before the bark begins to peel. On old lacebark pines, the patches turn solid white.
Pine cones: Oval 2- to 3-inch tawny brown pine cones, carried on the ends and along the sides of the branches.
Habit: Evergreen tree or evergreen shrub reaching 30 to 50 feet tall and 20 to 35 feet wide. May develop multiple trunks and a shrubby appearance, but it can be easily trained to be a single-trunk evergreen tree by removing side shoots. Pinus bungeana begins with a pyramidal shape but can be come wide and rounded with age.
Season: An evergreen tree, it offers a green presence year-round. Lacebark pine stands out among other pine trees due to its bark. The exfoliating bark is most apparent in winter, given the absence of deciduous woody plants and perennials. Position this pine tree where the bark can be seen and appreciated.
Origin: Pinus bungeana is native to central and northern China.
Cultivation: Grow lacebark pine in full sun, with moderate moisture and good drainage. Tolerates drought once established. Multistemmed lacebark pines can be prone to branch breakage under heavy loads of snow or ice. Train lacebark pine to grow as single-trunk pine tree to avoid this. A deer resistant plant. USDA Zones 4–8.
Bark image attribution
Tree image: public domain
Find many more trees and shrubs with winter interest in Wonders of the Winter Landscape.
Learn about more great pine trees and evergreen shrubs and groundcovers for the garden in the Timber Press Pocket Guide to Conifers.
Learn how to shape, prune and train all kinds of trees, shrubs and plants in Geoff Hodge’s Pruning & Training.
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