Pinus pinea; Italian Stone Pine trees common to France & Italy

Please be aware that Le Petit Hotel, Sumner, NZ is now closed.  This update is simply a reflection on the demise of two maturing French/Italian Stone Pine trees that Martine & Bruce planted to reflect the French nature of their hotel.

Travellers arriving at Le Petit Hotel prior to COVID 19 , would have noticed the distinctive juvenile pine trees – Pinus Pinea, gracing the street frontage.  Our original news item copied below, published on the 4th Nov. 2010, explained their heritage.  11 years on now, while still in their formative state, their umbrella type canopy was just beginning to take shape. but as reflected upon via my post script below, they are no more.

4/11/2010 – “Martine & myself recently had some R & R in France during September…one of the best months in respect of the French climate. Some of the time was spent near Plan du la Tour near the Med. coast,
and we couldn’t help noticing a tree with an attractive green umbrella like top…commonly called in France – the Parasol Pine…its botanical name being Pinus pinea. Clearly this was one tree which could survive not only the hot dry Mediterranean seaside environment but also the cold winter winds. For some time now here at Le Petit Hotel, we have been pondering what species of tree we could plant safely in our own Sumner location where the climate varies from hot summer winds, salt laden sea air, to our cooler winter temperatures. So it has been a surprise, in the last few days to locate a source of these Pinus specimens here in NZ at a nursery in New Plymouth :
Needless to say, we are looking forward to trying the species in our own unique NZ climate.
It’s interesting to note that the Pinus Pinea species is the one that produces genuine edible pine nuts, the tree and its nuts having a history of more than 6000 years at least.” Pine nuts are variously described as the most expensive dried fruit in the world.

Reflection time. Post Script: Sadly ..we have to report that the new owners of the building previously known as Le Petit Hotel, Sumner, NZ, saw no value in the two  Pinus Pinea specimen trees ( known in NZ as Stone Pines) which had both matured sufficiently to begin producing numerous pine cones complete with the edible pine nuts.  Both trees succumbed to the kiwi chainsaw disease. It is sort of ironical but possibly attributable to the immaturity of NZ as a colonial society, but to Europeans in general, trees have appreciable value and in both France, Italy and Spain people go to extraordinary lengths to keep trees alive, and indeed shift them around Europe to owners who place a high value them. The same treasure of trees is recognised in China, where not only do they cultivate huge mature tree nurseries, but they also have the skill and dedication to shift and or transplant such trees around their country. 


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