Pine is an evergreen needle-leaf tall tree. More than 110 species of pines have been known worldwide.
The botanical name of the pine designated as the national tree of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is Pinus densiflora.
Pine trees grow in the wide areas under 800 metres below the sea level except the highlands in the northern part of Korea.
Trunk is usually winding but that of the pine growing in the forest are comparatively straight. Its bark is reddish brown or dark brown and gets cracked like turtleback before falling off.
Pine has a very strong vitality. It has strong rooting ability and so it grows strong even on a barren land.
Of the kinds of trees, pine is distributed in the widest area and has a lot of its population. For this reason, it represented the natural scenery of Korea from the beginning of the ancient culture and is most closely related to the life of people.
Professor and Doctor Kong Myong Song, Director of the Folklore Institute under the Academy of Social Sciences, says: “From ancient times, the Korean people likened the firm spirit to the pine. So, they cultivated the pine with special love and care, saying ‘they live by the pine all their lives’.
The Koreans regarded a beautiful scene of the green pine woods or white sands and a green pine grove as a typical natural beauty and the best scenery.
Such scenes can be found in all parts of the country. So we could have the names of places such as Songak, Songnim and Songdowon meaning that there are many pine trees.
Among the national cultural heritages of the Korean people are many excellent literary and art works on the pine. For example, the pine drawn by the Korean famous artist Sol Ko on a wall of the Hwangryong Temple is also widely known. The picture of the pine is said to have been so lifelike that birds flew to it before running into the wall and falling down.”
The evergreen pine tree standing firmly despite all storms represents the spirit of the Korean nation.