The regional Central Forest Nursery of the regional government of Castilla y León (Spain) has released grafted plants of 5 elite clones of Pinus pinea, a.k.a. Mediterranean stone pine for its big hardshelled seeds. Their edible kernels, the genuine Mediterranean pine nuts, are nowadays the most expensive nuts of the world due to their scarcity and dependence on collection from the wild. Another 10 elite clones, also selected for their outstanding cone and pine nuts production, are available from the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, allowing the deployment and expansion of the selected genetic materials in new orchard plantations in Spain, for an increased supply of this nut highly demanded on the world market.
In the last 20 years, Portugal and Turkey have been expanding plantation areas of the species fourfold, approximating 200,000 hectares each, while Spanish landowners have been waiting the delivery of the practical results of Genetic Improvement Programmes developped by ministry and regional governments in collaboration with researchers of INIA and Madrid Tech (UPM) .