Aleppo pine (P. halepensis) brutia pine (P. brutia), and stone pine ( Pinus pinaea )
Aleppo pine (P. halepensis) or brutia pine (P. brutia) carving at Palmyra (Tadmor), Syria.
Three pines are frequently encountered in the Middle East. One, Pinus pinea, the stone pine or umbrella pine (in allusion to its umbrella-like appearance when mature), was once grown on a large scale for its seeds which are an important ingredient in Middle East foods. Today, most of these seeds are imported from China and may be produced by trees other than the stone pine. All pines have edible seeds, most, however, are too small to harvest.
The two native pines are Aleppo pine, P. halepensis, and P. brutia which has no widely acceptable common name. Pinus brutia is widespread in Syria and Turkey. There are remnant forests of Aleppo pine in Israel and Jordan. Both pines are fire maintained in nature.
In Nehemiah 8:15 and Isaiah 41:19 the Aleppo pine brutia pine is probably meant. In each of these three references the beauty of the trees is emphasized. This is applicable as the pine is evergreen, fragrant, but also produces good wood for construction and furniture.
In Hosea 14:8 reference is made to a pine tree which apparently produces an edible fruit perhaps the stone pine. It is often difficult to say with certainty which pine is intended in the scriptures as the same word can be used for other evergreen trees such as the cypress and the fir.
Aleppo and brutia pine
Pinus pinea. Stone pine. Lithograph from "The Land and the Book".
Pinus pinaea . Note the distinct crown. Ramallah, Palestine. 1987.
Pine and Pines References