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Bristlecone Pine (Pinus longaeva (aristata))

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