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Pinus jeffreyi

Pinus jeffreyi
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Product Information


Scientific name: Pinus jeffreyi  Greville & J.Balfour in A. Murray  1853

Synonyms: Pinus deflexa Torr., Pinus jeffreyana Loudon, Pinus malletii Mottet, Pinus peninsularis (Lemmon) Lemmon

Common names: Jeffrey pine, Jeffrey's pine, Western yellow pine, Sapwood pine, Truckee pine, Blackwood pine



Tree to 40(-60) m tall, with trunk to 1.2(2.5) m in diameter. Bark dark reddish brown with light brown highlight, divided into narrow vertical plates by slightly narrower furrows. Crown conical to cylindrical with a rounded top, with numerous short, horizontal to down-arched stout branches densely clothed with foliage near the tips. Twigs thick, purplish brown and with a thin waxy coating, rough with the bases of scale leaves, hairless. Buds 1.5-2.5(-3) cm long, not resinous. Needles in bundles of (two or) three, each needle (12-)15-25(-28) cm long, straight, slightly twisted, and a little stiff, lasting (2-)4-5(-7) years, grayish green to bluish green, sometimes a little yellowish. Individual needles with about twice as many lines of stomates on the outer face as on each of the inner faces, and two to five resin canals at the corners and scattered around the two-stranded midvein deep inside the lea tissue. Sheath 20-25(-30) mm long at first, the lower 10-15 mm persisting and falling with the needles. Pollen cones 20-35 mm long, yellowish brown. Seed cones (10-)13-20(-25) cm long, elongated egg-shaped, with 135-150 seed scales, purplish green before maturity, ripening light reddish brown to tan, opening widely to release the seeds and then falling, leaving the bottom scales behind still attached to the stubby, thick stalk. Seed scales angularly paddle-shaped, thin but stiff, the exposed face diamond-shaped with a small, central umbo ending in a slender, downwardly incurved prickle. Seed body 9-12 mm long, the easily detachable wing 18-25 mm longer.

The species name honors John Jeffrey (1826 - 1854), the Scottish gardener who collected the type specimen for the Oregon Botanical Association in Edinburgh before disappearing in Arizona.

Mountains from southwestern Oregon through California to northern Baja California (Mexico). Most commonly mixed with other montane conifers in open or dense stands; (50-)1,500-2,500(-3,000) m.


Conservation Status

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern

Jeffrey pine is very widespread and abundant and regenerates well after disturbance events, including logging. A potential threat to play a role in future reduction of subpopulations near urban centres is air pollution. However, no direct links between local die back and air pollution have yet been recorded; often other pathogens or fire are involved. For the present therefore this species should be classified as Least Concern.

Pinus jeffreyi is a montane to subalpine species largely confined to the mountains of California, with an altitudinal range of (50-)300 m to 3,000 m a.s.l. It is tolerant of low temperatures in winter and can grow on thin soil or even in crevices of bare granite rock. In the Sierra Nevada of California the species, with its close relative Pinus ponderosa, is characteristic of open, dry and summer-warm mixed forests of the 'Yellow pine belt' where it tends to occupy the upper zone towards the tree line. In the southern part of this mountain range it occurs in diverse mixed coniferous forest with e.g. Pinus ponderosa, Pinus lambertiana, Pinus monticola, Pinus contorta, Abies concolor, Abies magnifica, Calocedrus decurrens, Juniperus occidentalis, and Sequoiadendron giganteum. In southern California and Baja California only Abies concolor, Calocedrus decurrens, Pinus contorta, and Pinus lambertiana accompany Pinus jeffreyi. In the Klamath Mountains of Oregon Pinus jeffreyi occurs on thin ultramafic soils of volcanic origin (peridotites and serpentine) which are poor in nutrients; on these soils its most common associate is Calocedrus decurrens. Here it descends to low elevations (around 100 m), while in the Sierra Nevada it ascends to 2,900 m and in the Sierra San Pedro Martír of Baja California to 3,050 m.

This species is, naturally, susceptible to numerous diseases and pests, as well as fire. These agents may cause dieback or even stand removing reductions of subpopulations, but under natural conditions regeneration would replace the losses. A regional threat in the mountains near large urban centres, especially Los Angeles, is air pollution (ozone in particular), which if not killing the trees may weaken them and so become more prone to attacks from pests. Air pollution is now a major problem in some of the famous national parks in the Sierra Nevada, where this species is abundant.

Jeffrey pine is very similar to Ponderosa pine in its wood properties and is consequently an important timber tree. It has a 'preference' for poorer sites and higher altitudes, and consequently grows slower than Ponderosa pine in its natural habitat, but it grows as fast or faster in plantations. The timber industry does not differentiate the wood from the two species; details are therefore given under Pinus ponderosa. The resin of Pinus jeffreyi contains much heptane and lower levels of terpenes than found in other pines; in the past this biochemical product was distilled and used as an additive to raise the octane levels of petrol (gasoline), as well as for medicinal applications. Jeffrey pine is not uncommon in cultivation, but it is mostly restricted to large parks and gardens with tree collections (arboreta). In forestry, crosses and back-crosses have been experimented with a number of related pines, in particular Pinus coulteri and Pinus ponderosa and its varieties.

This species is present in many protected areas, among which are several famous national parks. Reducing air pollution from traffic densities in LA and elsewhere in urbanized California is probably the most urgent conservation measure to be taken for this and other conifers in the region.



Pinus jeffreyi ’Aurea’
Pinus jeffreyi ’Ball’
Pinus jeffreyi ’Drn’  
Pinus jeffreyi ’Gelle Nalde’
Pinus jeffreyi ’Gelb’
Pinus jeffreyi ’Glauca’
Pinus jeffreyi ’Gold’
Pinus jeffreyi ’Graeton’
Pinus jeffreyi ’Joppi’
Pinus jeffreyi ’Kohout’s Mini’
Pinus jeffreyi ’Lenka’
Pinus jeffreyi ’Litomyšl’
Pinus jeffreyi ’Mono Lake’
Pinus jeffreyi ’Mt. Shasta’
Pinus jeffreyi ’Paula’
Pinus jeffreyi ’Pendula’  
Pinus jeffreyi ’Pondosa’
Pinus jeffreyi ´Seele Nadeln´
Pinus jeffreyi ’Station’
Pinus jeffreyi ’Toppi’
Pinus jeffreyi ’Yellow Form’
Pinus jeffreyi ’Yellow Needles’



  • 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 CodePINN9OUA3
Weight1.5 kg
Height20 - 25 cm

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