The Aleppo Pine Tree (Pinus halepensis)
The Aleppo Pine Tree (Pinus halepensis) is probably the most widely distributed tree on this Balearic island. The tree is also called Mediterranean Pine Tree. It is widely distributed on all of the Balearic islands, and throughout the entire Mediterranean region.
The Aleppo pine forms large expanses of forest, often together with other trees, such as wild olives and holm oaks. The pine’s bark is whitish and thus, distinct from the Pinus pinea, which has a reddish bark. In places where wind and salt are factors (coastal areas), the Aleppo pines adopt twisted, bent forms. There are some examples that have all branches and leaves directed skywards (like a cemetery cypress); those are considered Aleppo pine subspecies (var. ceciliæ), a Balearic endemic.
The Aleppo pine as such is not endangered, but it has two serious enemies: the pine shoot beetle (Tomicus piniperda) and the pine processionary caterpillar (Thaumetopœa pityocampa).
The Aleppo Pine has ancient associations with human culture; it was the source of a resin used in Egypt for embalming and is referred to in the Bible under the name fir (in correct accordance with the traditional meaning of that word). The resin of the Aleppo Pine is also used to flavor the Greek wine Retsina.
The Aleppo pine tree is said to have aphrodisiac characteristics as well as medicinal properties. Resin of all pine trees is antiseptic, diuretic, rubefacient and vermifuge. It is a valuable remedy used internally in the treatment of kidney and bladder complaints and is used both internally and as a rub and steam bath in the treatment of rheumatic affections. It is also very beneficial to the respiratory system and is useful in treating diseases of the mucous membranes and respiratory complaints such as coughs, colds, influenza and TB. Externally it is a very beneficial treatment for a variety of skin complaints, wounds, sores, burns, boils etc. and is used in the form of liniment plasters, poultices, herbal steam baths and inhalers.