Finding Chinese Red Pine - Pinus tabuliformis at Ha Giang province - a new record for the flora of Vietnam

Basic information

Vietnamese name: Thông hai lá quả nhỏ
English name: Chinese Red Pine
Latin name: Pinus tabuliformis Carriere
Family- Pinaceae

There are two varieties:

    * Pinus tabuliformis var. tabuliformis. China, except for Liaoning. Broadest cone scales under 15 mm broad.
    * Pinus tabuliformis var. mukdensis. Liaoning, North Korea. Broadest cone scales over 15 mm broad.

Some botanists also treat the closely related Henry's Pine (Pinus henryi) and Sikang Pine (Pinus densata) as varieties of Chinese Red Pine; in some older texts even the very distinct Yunnan Pine (Pinus yunnanensis) is included as a variety.

This species found in Vietnam by Vu Van Dung (at Na Hang natural reserve area, Tuyen Quang province) and then Dr. Le Tran Chan, Dr. Tran Ninh from Centre for Biodeversity and Safety (under VUSTA) found it in Ha Giang province in one project of the centre at location 22o15’20’’N and 105o17’30’’E at elevation of 1592m above sea level.

Chinese Red pine - Pinus tabuliformis, credit


It is a medium-sized evergreen tree 20-30 m tall, with a flat-topped crown when mature (whence the scientific name, 'table-shaped'). The growth rate is fast when young, but slows with age. The grey-brown bark fissures at an early age compared to other trees. The broadly spreading shape is very pronounced, in part due to the long horizontal branching pattern. The needle-like leaves are shiny grey-green, 10-17 cm long and 1.5 mm broad, usually in pairs but occasionally in threes at the tips of strong shoots on young trees. The cones are green, ripening brown about 20 months after pollination, broad ovoid, 4-6 cm long, with broad scales, each scale with a small prickle. The seeds are 6-7 mm long with a 15-20 mm wing, and are wind-dispersed.


Vietnam: Ha Giang province, Dong Van district, Thai Phin Tung commune; Tuyen Quang province: Na Ha natural reserve area

Globa: The Chinese Red Pine Pinus tabuliformis is a pine  native to northern China from Liaoning  west to Inner Mongolia and Gansu, and south to Shandong, Henan and Shaanxi, and also northern Korea. In some older texts the name is spelled "Pinus tabulaeformis".

Uses and cultivation

The wood is used for general construction. The pulpwood produces certain resins that are used as artificial vanilla flavouring (vanillin). The resin is also used to make turpentine and related products, and is used medicinally to treat a variety respiratory and internal ailments, such as kidney and bladder upsets, wounds, and sores. The bark is a source of tannin. Medicinal use of the pine needles also takes place, which also contain a natural insecticide, as well as a source for a dye.

It is uncommon in cultivation outside of China, grown only in botanical gardens.



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