α-Pinene is an organic compound of the terpene class, one of two isomers of pinene. It is an alkene and it contains a reactive four-membered ring. It is found in the oils of many species of many coniferous trees, notably the pine. It is also found in the essential oil of rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis). Both enantiomers are known in nature; 1S,5S- or (−)-α-pinene is more common in European pines, whereas the 1R,5R- or (+)-α-isomer is more common in North America. The racemic mixture is present in some oils such as eucalyptus oil.
With one molar equivalent of anhydrous HCl, the simple addition product 6a can be formed at low temperature in the presence of ether, but it is very unstable. At normal temperatures, or if no ether is present, the major product is bornyl chloride 6b, along with a small amount of fenchyl chloride 6c. For many years 6b (also called "artificial camphor") was referred to as "pinene hydrochloride", until it was confirmed as identical with bornyl chloride made from camphene. If more HCl is used, achiral 7 (dipentene hydrochloride) is the major product along with some 6b. Nitrosyl chloride followed by base leads to the oxime 8 which can be reduced to "pinylamine" 9. Both 8 and 9 are stable compounds containing an intact four-membered ring, and these compounds helped greatly in identifying this important component of the pinene skeleton.