Pinus radiataPinus radiata, known as Monterey pine in some parts of the worls and Radiata pine in others, is a species of pine tree originally native to California, but cultivated in many other parts of the world. The Monterey Pine is fast-growing, hardy and adaptable to a broad range of soil types and climates.
P. radiata grows to between 40-60 m high, with upward pointing branches and a rounded top. The needles are bright green in clusters of three, slender, about 150 mm long and with a blunt tip. The cones are a brown, egg shaped and usually set asymetrically on the branch, attached at an oblique angle. The bark is fissured and dark grey to brown. In a good situation, P. radiata can reach its full height in twenty years or less. It is a rapidly growing tree, which makes it ideal for forestry.
P. radiata was first introduced into New Zealand in the 1850s; today, over 90% of the country's plantation forests are of this species. This includes the Kaingaroa Forest on the central plateau of the North island which is the largest planted forest in the world. Australia also has massive Radiata Pine plantations - so much so that many Australians are concerned about the resulting loss of native wildlife habitat. A few native animals, however, thrive on P. radiata, notably the Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo that, although deprived of much of its natural diet, feeds on Pinus radiata seeds.