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Pinus longaeva

Pinus longaeva
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Product Information

Scientific name: Pinus longaeva  D.K.Bailey  1971

Synonyms: Pinus aristata var. longaeva (D.K.Bailey) Little, Pinus aristata subsp. longaeva (D.K.Bailey) A.E.Murray, Pinus balfouriana subsp. longaeva (D.K.Bailey) A.E.Murray   

Common names:Bristlecone pine, Great Basin bristlecone pine, Intermountain bristlecone pine



Tree to 16 m tall, with trunk to 2(-4) m in diameter. Bark bright reddish brown, breaking up with age into small blocks separated by shallow furrows. Crown conical to cylindrical when young, becoming irregular, twisted, and flat-topped, with numerous slender, twisted, drooping branches densely clothed with foliage. Twigs reddish brown and hairless or minutely hairy at first, becoming yellowish gray and bald with age. Buds 8-10 mm long, resinous. Needles in bundles of five, each needle 1.5-3.5 cm long, stiff, straight, and remaining tight together, lasting 10-35(-45) years, dark yellowish green, mostly without resin flakes. Individual needles with lines of stomates only on the inner faces, an undivided midvein, and two large, equal resin canals touching the ungrooved epidermis of the outer face and visible beneath it. Sheath scales 5-10 mm long, curling back and soon shed. Pollen cones 7-10 mm long, reddish purple or yellow. Seed cones 6-9.5(-11) cm long, egg-shaped and rounded at the base, often with over 100 scales, reddish purple or yellowish green before maturity, ripening reddish brown, opening widely to release the seeds and then falling intact, usually with a short stalk about 5-7 mm long. Seed scales paddle-shaped, thin but thicker at the exposed tip, with a diamond-shaped umbo bearing a slender prickle usually about 3 mm long. Seed body 5-8 mm long, pale with reddish speckles, the easily detachable wing 7-15 mm long.

High mountains of the Great Basin in eastern California, Nevada, and Utah. Forming pure stands or mixed with other conifers in open subalpine forests and woodlands, mostly on limey soils; (1,700-)2,200-3,500 m.

At almost 5,000 years old, the bristlecone pines of the desert White Mountains of California are the oldest known individual trees (hence the scientific name). The oldest individuals live under intensely arid conditions and have an extremely slow growth rate.


Conservation Status

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern

(Currently there are no known subpopulations where the Great Basin Bristlecone Pine (Pinus longaeva) numbers are decreasing. Throughout its range subpopulations are either increasing or remaining stable. Projection of population trends due to climate change are unknown and would be speculative at best. At most occurrences there is additional elevation to allow for subpopulations of Pinus longaeva to move up slope. To date white pine blister rust is not adversely affecting Great Basin Bristlecone Pine populations. On this basis we have assessed this species as Least Concern)



Farjon, A. (2010). A Handbook of the World's Conifers. Koninklijke Brill, Leiden.

Eckenwalder, J.E. (2009) Conifers of the World: The Complete Reference. Timber Press, Portland.

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. Cambridge, UK /Gland, Switzerland


Copyright © Aljos Farjon, James E. Eckenwalder, IUCN, Conifers Garden. All rights reserved.

Product CodePIN3ITD438
Weight1.5 kg
Height15 - 20 cm

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