On ocean dunes, there is no indicator of time: you could
believe you were at the earliest days of the world.
Maritime pine, or Pinus Pinaster, is a conifer from the Pinaceae family, which grows in the sand along the south Atlantic coastline and in the western regions of the Mediterranean basin. Fine and slender, its beauty is spoken of in glowing terms, described as a tree with a “physique” and “allure”.
An ability to grow quickly and withstand certain extreme conditions makes this the ultimate tree for the future. In Aquitaine, maritime pines extend over a region of 1 million hectares (2.5 million acres) and so constitute Europe’s largest mono-varietal forest.
This is a very light and airy tree, and from the mid-19th century onwards the maritime pine became an emblem of life and health. Pine forests are a site much coveted by therapy-goers, while poets and writers have long celebrated the balsamic scents, the rustling wind through the tree-tops and the shimmering light of pine-forest undergrowth.
The evocative powers of the maritime pine, combined with a quest for sunshine and sea air, now enhanced by the surprising virtues of its seeds, have earned the tree prized status in the fields of wellness and beauty.
The female flowers of the maritime pine look like little garnet-red cones which, once fertilized, mature for months on end to reach the size of a large pine-cone. When mature, under the effect of the summer heat, the cone opens to release the seeds that are carried off and disseminated by the wind. Black on one side, grey on the other, maritime pine seeds are topped by a little flange, the lines of which form a pattern that is peculiar to each tree. They all contain a fine and delicately-scented golden oil.