A tree up to 80 ft high in the wild; young shoots glaucous at first, afterwards dull yellow or brownish, not downy; bark fissured, grey tinged with pink or orange; winter-buds oblong-ovoid, pointed, 1⁄2 to 3⁄4 in. long, the scales closely appressed. Leaves densely set on the shoots, mostly in pairs, sometimes in threes, 3 to 6 in. long; basal sheath persistent, 1⁄4 in. long. Cones solitary, ovoid, up to 21⁄2 in. long, persisting on the branches several years.
P. tabuliformis is widespread in the mountains of China and descends to near sea-level in the plains of the north. It was introduced by Fortune from the neighbourhood of Peking in 1862, but the trees now in cultivation are from later reintroductions and mostly from seed sent from W. China by Wilson when collecting for the Arnold Arboretum. It is very rare in this country and of no ornamental value. An example at Borde Hill, Sussex, in Gores Wood, measures 52 × 21⁄4 ft (1974). It was identified as P. tabuliformis by A. B. Jackson, and was raised from seeds collected by Wilson in Korea, distributed as P. densiflora (W.8815). Others are: Bayford, Herts, in Bells Wood, 45 × 31⁄2 ft (1962); Edinburgh Botanic Garden, from Wilson 1369, 36 × 2 ft (1967).
P. tabuliformis was at one time known by the name P. sinensis, but the pine thus named by Lambert is P. massoniana, a species very rare in cultivation, and not treated here.
P. yunnanensis Franch. P. tabuliformis var.yunnanensis (Franch.) Shaw – This species is allied to P. tabuliformis of which it was made a variety by Shaw. It differs in its stout, pinkish shoots, longer leaves 4 to 9 in. long, and larger cones up to 4 in. long. Native of W. China, introduced by Wilson in 1909. There are two trees at Kew from this introduction, the larger 36 × 41⁄4 ft (1969). A tree at Borde Hill in Sussex, also almost certainly from the seeds sent by Wilson, measured 50 × 4 ft in 1957.