Swiss Stone Pine

January 15, 2010

20100115 – Friday - Swiss Stone Pine

Photographer: Pierantonio Mognol
Summary Author: Pierantonio Mognol; Jim Foster

January 2010 Earth Science Picture of the Day Viewer's Choice

The photo above shows an imposing 500 year old Swiss stone pine (Pinus cembra) sharing a dolomite boulder with sunburst lichens (Xanthoria elegans). It was taken in the Italian Natural Park of the Ampezzo Dolomites on January 10, 2009. The west ridge of Croda Rossa is in the background. Swiss stone pines favor relatively high altitudes of c. 4,600 ft to c. 8,200 ft (c. 1,400 – c. 2,500 m). These hardy trees quite often live to 400 years and a few examples have been dated to 1,200 years of age! Note the cloudless, azure blue sky, which contrasts nicely with the winter snow pack and the evergreen boughs. Also noteworthy is the blue-tinted shadow of the pine. Shadows on snow reflect the light that falls upon them, and on this pristine clear day, a distinctive blue shadow is quite evident.

Natural Park of the Ampezzo Dolomites coordinates: 46.62405, 12.11379

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