The Mountain pine tree (species name: Pinus mugo subsp. uncinata or sometimes just referred to as pinus uncinata) is a tree native to eastern Spain at fairly high altitudes in the Pyranees mountains. I had come across this tree species some months back in various online forums in Spanish where there is a debate as to which is the true "Pino negro" (Black Pine in Spanish). It seems that there are at least pine tree species in Spain that are commonly called Pino Negro and this species is one of them. The other is the pine tree species Pinus nigra (European Black Pine) that I blogged about last month. They are similar trees but from my observations they are easily distinguished from their cones.
The image above shows a new forming cone and the needles which occur in pairs and are about 3 inches long and fairly stiff. In the picture below you can see the pollen cones and the new leaf growth.
The cones are green before they mature and then turn a beautiful brown color. The tips of the scales give the appearance of being pointed backwards.
I did pick up some opened cones on the ground and found that when they are fully opened they are more difficult to distiguish from other pine tree species such as the p. nigra or the p. sylvestris (Scotts pine).
I took these pictures in the small ski resort town of La Molina in the Catalan region of Spain. Another evergreen tree species in and around this town was the Nordmann fir.