"He that fails today may be up again tomorrow."
-- Miguel de Cervantes
Pine Quiz: The Answers
|Grove of Eastern White
Pines (Pearson Creek)|
- Pinus radiata, the Monterey pine, has been planted extensively in
Europe (some now over 100 years old), South Africa, Hawaii, New Zealand and
- Pinus sylvestris, the Scots pine, extends from Scotland to the
Pacific coast of Siberia and from northern Norway to Spain.
- Pinus ponderosa extends from the coastal ranges of California to
central South Dakota and from southern British Columbia to San Luis Potosi,
- Pinus maximartinezii, the large cone Martinez pine, is confined to
one small mesa in Zacatecas state, Mexico. In Asia, Pinus dalatensis in
South Vietnam and Pinus wangii in Yunnan Province, China have very
(In the U.S., the smallest area is occupied by Pinus
torreyana, the Torrey pine, found on two cliff sites near the mouth of the
Soledad River in San Diego County and on nearby Santa Rosa Island,
- Haploxylon (white pines, soft pines)( the subgenus Strobus):
one fibrovascular bundle in the needle; soft needles; usually 5 (but sometimes
less) needles per fascicle; deciduous needle sheath; leaf scales are not
decurrent on the shoot; shoots are uninodal; softer, whiter wood; cones are
relatively soft and in most species not armed with a prickle; bark stays
Diploxylon (yellow pines, hard pines)(the subgenus
Pinus): two fibrovascular bundles in the needle; stiff needles;
usually 2 or 3 (but sometimes more) needles per fascicle; persistent needle
sheath; leaf scales are decurrent on the shoot; shoots of several species are
multinodal; yellower harder wood with more distinct annual rings; cones are
hard and with a prickle on the end of the scale; bark becomes rough earlier.
- In the subgenus Haploxylon (White pines), Pinus nelsonii, an
isolated local species in northeast Mexico, is multinodal and has a persistent
basal sheath (no rosette) which is unlike all other species in this
Members of the section Parrya (incl. the pinyon pines and
foxtail/bristlecone pines) in subgenus Haploxylon have a semi-persistent
sheath which curves back to form a "rosette" before it finally is shed.
the subgenus Diploxylon, which characteristically has decurrent leaf bracts
and therefor rough branches, there are two subsections which are exceptions to
this rule. These are subsections Pseudostrobus (includes Pinus
pseudostrobus and Pinus maximinoi) and Oaxacana (includes Pinus
estevezii, Pinus oaxacana and Pinus nubicola). The branches
of these Mexican pines have bases of the leaf bracts that are not decurrent
and soon sink into the bark leaving the branches smooth rather than rough and
- Pinus hartwegii, the Hartweg pine, reaches elevations of about 3700
meters (12,140 feet), the only pine to reach the timberline on Mexico's
highest snow capped peaks. A species formerly designated Pinus rudis,
the Mexican red pine, had anecdotally been reported as high as Hartweg pine,
but this species name is no longer valid because it has recently has been
submerged into the species Pinus hartwegii.
- Pinus contorta, with its four subspecies, spans an elevation range
from sea level to about 3350 meters (11,000 feet). Pinus contorta
contorta (shore pine) and Pinus contorta bolanderi (Mendicino shore
pine) are near sea level and Pinus contorta latifolia (Rocky Mountain
lodgepole pine) and Pinus contorta murrayana (Sierra lodgepole pine)
occupy the upper elevations.
- Pinus sylvestris, the Scots pine, reaches 70 degrees north latitude
in Norway. Close in second place are Pinus sibirica in northwest Russia
and Pinus pumila in northeast Russia, both above the Artic Circle
(66-2/3 degrees). In America, the honor goes to Pinus banksiana, which
grows in Canada up to 65 degrees north.
Pinus merkusii, the Merkus
pine, extends 1 or 2 degrees south of the equator on the island of Sumatra in
- Mexico has 60 to 70 species and subspecies of pines, followed by the U.S.
with about 45 and China with about 21.
- California, with 23, followed by Arizona with 12.
- Kansas and Hawaii
- Members of the subsection taeda (Pinus- taeda, palustris,
echinata, glabra, rigida, serotina, elliotii, densa, caribea, occidentalis,
cubensis) and subsection Contortae (Pinus- contorta, banksiana,
virginiana, clausa) and subsection Oocarpae (Pinus- oocarpa,
teocote, greggii, herrerai, lawsonii, radiata, muricata, attenuata) are
multinodal and therefor can have more than one terminal shoot ("candle") per
year if conditions are favorable.
- Pinus lambertiana, the sugar pine, which can reach heights of
around 250 feet. The current national champion sugar pine, near Dorrington,
CA., is 232 feet tall and is the world's largest pine tree based on a total
points score of 681 (height in feet plus breast height (4½') circumference in
inches plus average crown spread in feet). Pinus monticola, the western
white pine, is currently 2nd among all pines in total points, is 151 feet
tall. Other very tall species and their national champion's heights are:
Pinus strobus, the eastern white pine---201'. Pinus jeffreyi,
the Jeffrey pine---197'. Pinus ponderosa ponderosa, the California
ponderosa---223'. Pinus ponderosa scopulorum, the Rocky Mountain
ponderosa pine---144'. Pinus washoensis, the Washoe pine---161'.
The smallest? Difficult to answer with certainty because there are many
very small dwarf pine cultivars. Among untended pine trees in nature in the
U.S. the smallest is probably Pinus monophylla, the single-needle
pinyon (and the pine tree that has only one needle per fascicle) &/or
Pinus quadrifolia, the Parry pinyon, (with four needles per fascicle).
The national champion for these species are only 45' and 53' tall. Some of the
Mexican pinyons may be smaller. In Eurasia, Pinus mugo and Pinus
pumila are even smaller. They generally have low shruby prostrate profiles
and there are some carpet-like cultivars of these.
- Pinus lambertiana, the sugar pine, has cones which measure up 25
inches long. Second place goes to Pinus ayacahuite with cones up to
about 18 inches long. The heaviest pine cones (weighing up to 5 lbs. when
green) are those of Pinus coulteri, the Coulter pine in California and
Pinus maximartinezii, the large cone Martinez pine, in Mexico. Smallest
cones? This is harder to rank because poorly developed cones can distort
comparisons, but candidates for smallest cones include Pinus banksiana,
herrerai, teocote, mugo and contorta.
- There are 4 species whose needles can reach to about 40 cm. (about 16 ")
or slightly longer. They are: Pinus palustris (the "longleaf "pine),
Pinus engelmanni, Pinus nubicola and Pinus lumholtzii.
- Pinus maximartinezii, the large cone Martinez pine, has seeds that
are about 1 inch long (and therefor make very special pine nuts).
- Pinus monophylla, the single needle pinyon pine. One needle per
- Several Mexican species, such as nubicola, durangensis,
martinezii, can have 7 or 8 needles per fascicle.
- Pinus longaeva, the Great Basin or intermountain bristlecone pine,
in the White Mountains near Bishop CA. has individuals up to 4900 years old.
And its needles can last for about 35 years. Other pines noted for longevity
are Pinus balfouriana, Pinus aristata and Pinus flexilis;
all of these can live over 2000 years. Pinus ponderosa and Pinus
jeffreyi can exceed 1000 years in age.