Trees 3: Scots pine

Scots pine 1 (1)

The trunk of an old Scots pine reminds me of a landscape in miniature:  a terrain of contoured hills riven with deep gorges.

At the winter solstice, druids would light bonfires of Scots pine branches with the aim of drawing back the sun into the cycle of seasons.  You can find out more in this feature on The Hazel Tree.

Photo copyright © Jo Woolf


  1. I think we could do with burning some Scots pine branches today Jo 🙂
    That’s a great photo of the bark of this fantastic tree, it supports a myriad of bugs and lichens, and most importantly to me, you can find the Scottish Wood Ant in a few of the places where it grows 🙂

    • Haha, if I could be sure of staying on my feet I’d be lighting that bonfire right now, Andy! I always fancied being a druid. I didn’t know about the Scottish Wood Ant – thanks for that! Would I recognise one?

      • I can just see you as a druid Jo!!! 🙂
        The Scottish wood ant is about 8-10mm long, the common black garden ant is 3-5mm long by comparison. The wood ants build the huge conical nests made up of a mound of pine needles. They behave a wee bit like some of the more exotic ants, you can trace trails coming out of the nest for up to 50 metres or more, if the food source is good. I used to watch the southern wood ants on the Surrey heathland when I lived down there. I forgot to say, not only are they bigger, and generally more ‘ferocious’, but they have a very distinctly brown, almost dark orange coloured body, with a very dark brown head and abdomen.

      • Thank you! 🙂 OK, so they are the Braveheart of wood ants? I’ve never paid much attention to ants, but I will keep an eye open for these!

      • Definitely the ‘Braveheart’ of the ant world!! Well at least in the UK!! I think they would struggle against some of the tropical ants!!

  2. Beautiful image, Jo. Bark is fascinating stuff.

    • Thank you! I’ve paid more attention to bark since I’ve been writing my trees series. I think this particular pine was by Loch Leven, and it was perfect lighting, just as the sun was just setting.

  3. Fabulous photo – your simile is so appropriate, and the bark is a work of art.

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