Bristlecone Pine

Bristlecone Pine (Pinus longaeva)

Bristlecone Pine

(Pinus longaeva)


Family: Pinaceae or Pine

Leaves: Needles in groups of 5; 1" to 1-1/2" long; dark green; curved; stiff; evergreen, remain on tree 10- 17 years; usually lightly covered with white specks of dried resin.

Twigs/buds: Twigs orange-brown, becoming black when older. Buds 1/3" long; covered with brown scales.

Flowers/fruit: Fruit a woody cone; short stalk; about 3" to 3-1/2" long; brown; scales thick and tipped with a long bristle; seeds smaller than limber pine and winged.

Bark: Thin, smooth, and gray-white on young stems; furrowed and red-brown on older stems.

Wood: Unimportant; fairly soft; heartwood light red-brown.

General: Native in scattered mountainous areas in the interior West, including Utah. Slow growing and very long-lived (over 4,000 years old) on dry, tough sites. Shade intolerant.

Landscape Use: Seldom used but should be more often; can be found at nurseries; very slow-growing; nice dark green color and interesting, sometimes contorted form; needs little or no supplemental water once established. Zones 5-7. Welsh et al. consider the bristlecone pine growing in Utah to be Pinus longaeva.

Bristlecone Pine leaves
Bristlecone Pine leaves with resin specks
Bristlecone Pine crown
Leaves with resin specks
Bristlecone Pine crown, young tree
  Bristlecone Pine cone      
Crown, young tree