Two in three Scots prefer pines

Last month I blogged about a survey to find Scotland’s choice for the national tree. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Scots pine stood out high above the rest with two-thirds of the vote. Rowan, which I should declare as my own personal favourite, came in second place, with one-fifth of the vote. The other trees, in order of votes, were: aspen, birch, oak, Arran whitebeams and others.

scots pine

Iconic Scots pine

We asked people to leave comments to support their choice. In the case of pine the main reasons were its iconic status within the landscape, the charismatic wildlife, including capercaillie, red squirrels and Scottish crossbill that pinewoods support, and the need to halt the decline of the Caledonian forest.

For rowan, the bright red berries and rich folklore appear to be the key to its popularity. If you want to be protected from evil spirits, witches and lightning there’s no better tree to plant!

The results formed our response to campaigner Alex Hamilton’s petition calling for the Scots pine to be made the national tree of Scotland.

Hopefully, as well as bolstering this campaign, which would leave a great legacy for the Year of Natural Scotland, our poll demonstrates a wide range of reasons, ecological, cultural and personal, why people value and care for trees. The word cloud below illustrates the most common words used in people’s comments…

Word cloud

Rory Syme, PR and Communications Officer, Woodland Trust Scotland


About Kay Haw

Assistant Conservation Adviser, Woodland Trust. Nature is my passion, especially woods and trees which are just amazing elements of life. One day (soon) I hope we humans learn to work in harmony with Mother Earth.
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5 Responses to Two in three Scots prefer pines

  1. Kay Haw says:

    Thanks for your comments! I have to admit that birches are some of my all time favourite trees, I think it stems from my childhood, and rowans are just beautiful 🙂

  2. Lunar says:

    Scots Pine is boring – will always be Rowan for me 😦

  3. Reblogged this on Wood Elf Weekly and commented:
    Scots Pine wins the poll- but I still think it should have been the Rowan. Sore loser? Moi? 🙂

  4. The Scots might want to rethink their ‘national’ tree as I’ve read the Scots Pine is about to be devastated with ill-wind-blown/ imported pests – the pine wood nematode, and the fungus Fusarium circinatum,.

    • Garin Linnington says:

      National tree could just as easily be downy or silver birch. Pines are already being heavily affected by red band needle blight, Dothistroma septisporum, a run of cool wet summers has helped the spread.

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