John Stevens Henslow, the founder of the Garden, designed plantings to demonstrate variation within species, including the Black Pines in this grove and along the Main Walk. Despite being the same species, the Black Pines which come from warm climates hold their branches erect, while those from cold areas have sloping branches to allow snow to slide off. This limits the load on their branches and ensures the leaves are free to photosynthesize. The wood of the Black Pine is relatively hard and straight-grained, and is used for building, fuel and papermaking.
The Pine family (Pinaceae) includes Cedars, Firs, Larches, Pines and Spruces. Female trees produce cones which bear two seeds on each ‘scale’ of the cone; the cones can be up to half a metre long on the Coulter Pine (Pinus coulteri), which can produce up to 200 seeds per cone. Seeds sometimes have wings to aid dispersal by wind, or can be spread by animals such as squirrels and jays.