ISSN 1067-4136, Russian Journal of Ecology, 2006, Vol. 37, No. 2, pp. 90–96. © Pleiades Publishing, Inc., 2006.
Original Russian Text © T.N. Novikova, L.I. Milyutin, 2006, published in Ekologiya, 2006, No. 2, pp. 102–109.
Scotch pine (
L.) has a vast range
with diverse natural–climatic conditions. In the course
of evolution in ecologically and geographically differ-
ent habitats, this species has formed stands that signiﬁ-
cantly differ in certain hereditary biological characters
and properties. On this basis, infraspeciﬁc taxonomic
units of different ranks (subspecies, climatypes,
ecotypes, and populations) have been identiﬁed in
In this study, certain characters and properties of
such infraspeciﬁc taxa were analyzed using an example
geographic cultures established in west-
ern Transbaikalia (Zaudinskii forestry, the Buryat
Republic) by Cherepnin and Novikova in 1979 and in
the forest–steppe near Krasnoyarsk by Iroshnikov in
1966 and 1967.
Geographic cultures are experimental forest seed
plantations that are used to study the characters and
properties of forest species in order to understand the
principles of intraspeciﬁc differentiation and reveal the
potential for growth (productivity) and stability of the
progeny under concrete conditions. The importance of
these cultures is evident, as they are a kind of databank
of forest tree species in which their intraspeciﬁc diver-
sity is reﬂected.
In studies of variation in Scotch pine, considerable
attention has been given to vegetative parts, in particu-
lar, needles, which are responsible for the assimilatory
function and thereby determine the growth and devel-
opment of other organs (Pravdin, 1964; Pikhel’gas,
1982). Needles are very sensitive to changes in environ-
mental conditions and display considerable variation
on the same tree. Nevertheless, their morphological,
anatomical, and physiological features have been effec-
tively used as diagnostic characters (Pravdin, 1964).
It is considered that this character is indicative of the
native region of a pine population. In natural pine pop-
ulations growing in the southern and central zones of
the species range in the European part of Russia (subsp.
L.), needles live for 2–3 years; in northern
Europe and the Asian part of Russia (subsp.
Ledeb., and subsp.
Sukaczew), for 5 to 7–8 years (Romeder and Schen-
bach, 1962; Pravdin, 1964); in central Yakutia (subsp.
Fries), their lifespan proved to reach
12 years (Petrenko, 1967). Therefore, the lifespan of
needles is the longer, the less favorable the hydrother-
mal conditions, the more continental the climate, and
the shorter the growing period. This variation is
explained by speciﬁc features of Scotch pine growth
and expansion in the postglacial period, when disrup-
tion of the species range provided for the evolutionary
development of conditional western and eastern forms
differing from each other in certain characters (Pravdin,
In addition, this character displays ontogenetic (age-
needles live longer
on mature trees than on trees of age classes 1 and 2
(Pravdin, 1964; Petrenko, 1967; Cherepnin, 1980). The
difference is 1–2 years in the European part of the spe-
cies range and 3–4 years in Siberia and Kazakhstan.
Changes in their lifespan are also observed upon transi-
tion from classes 4–5 to classes 1–2 of tree develop-
ment (Polikarpov, 1962). Differences in needle lifespan
between Scotch pine trees growing in different parts of
the range belong to a complex of characters that differ-
entiate infraspeciﬁc taxa from one another.
We studied the pattern of variation in several char-
acters, including needle lifespan, in 15-year-old geo-
Variation in Certain Characters and Properties
of Scotch Pine Needles in Geographic Cultures
T. N. Novikova and L. I. Milyutin
Sukachev Institute of Forest, Siberian Division, Russian Academy of Sciences,
Akademgorodok, Krasnoyarsk, 660036 Russia
Received February 15, 2005
—Morphophysiological and anatomical characters of needles that are used for characterizing
infraspeciﬁc taxa have been studied in Scotch pine geographic cultures established in the forest–steppe zone of
Siberia. Variation in these characters has been revealed, which reﬂects the polymorphic structure of the species
and the effect of natural selection on the composition of populations in new natural–cimatic conditions.
: Scotch pine, variation, morphophysiological characters, needle anatomy.