Mountain Pine or Mugo Pine (Pinus mugo) is a high altitude European pine, found in the Pyrenees, Alps, Erzgebirge, Carpathians, northern Appennines and Balkan Peninsula mountains from (mostly) 1,000m to 2,200m, occasionally as low as 200m in the north of the range in Germany and Poland, and as high as 2,700m in the south of the range in Bulgaria.
There are two subspecies, typical Pinus mugo subsp. mugo in the east and south of the range (southern & eastern Alps, Balkan peninsula), a low, shrubby, often multi-stemmed plant to 3-6m tall with symmetrical cones, and Pinus mugo subsp. uncinata in the west and north of the range (Pyrenees northeast to Poland), a larger, usually single-stemmed tree to 20m tall with asymmetrical cones (the scales much thicker on one side of the cone than the other). The two subspecies intergrade extensively (hybrid subspecies rotundata) in the western Alps and northern Carpathians.
Some botanists treat the western subspecies as a separate species, Pinus uncinata, others as only a variety, Pinus mugo var. rostrata.
Both subspecies have similar foliage, with dark green leaves ('needles') in pairs, 3-7cm long. The cones are nut-brown, 2.5-5.5cm long, symmetrical, thin-scaled and matt texture in subsp. mugo, asymmetrical with thick scales on the upper side of the cone, thin on the lower side, and glossy, in subsp. uncinata.
The species is highly valued in horticulture, particularly the smaller subsp. mugo.
An old name for the species Pinus montana is still occasionally seen, and a typographical error "mugho" (first made in a prominent 18th century encyclopedia) is still repeated surprisingly often.