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Pinus pungens

Pinus pungens
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Product Information

Scientific name: Pinus pungens A.Lambert  1806

Common names: Hickory pine, Prickly pine, Table Mountain pine



Tree to 20(-30) m tall, with trunk to 0.4(-0.8) m in diameter, often crooked and irregular in cross section. Bark thin, reddish brown to dark gray, breaking up into flaky, elongate plates between shallow, dark furrows. Crown flat-topped, irregular, and open, with a few, thick, upwardly angled branches sparsely clothed with foliage. Twigs orange-brown, tough but snapping at their breaking point, rough with the bases of scale leaves, hairless. Buds 6-9 mm long, resinous. Needles in bundles of two (or three), each needle (3-)4-9(-10) cm long, twisted, stiff, and prickly (hence the scientific name, Latin for “piercing”), lasting (2-)3 years, dark green. Individual needles with conspicuous, narrow lines of stomates on both the inner and outer faces, and (0-)2-7(-11) resin canals at the corners, and in between, midway between the needle surface and the two-stranded midvein. Sheath 5-10 mm long, weathering to 4-6 mm and persisting and falling with the bundle. Pollen cones 12-18 mm long, reddish purple. Seed cones (4-)6-8(-10) cm long, plumply egg-shaped, asymmetrical, with 90-140 seed scales, green before maturity, ripening shiny light yellowish brown, opening gradually from the middle over the course of 2-3(-5) years and then persisting another several years (up to about 30!) before falling with the very short stalks (to 1 cm long). Seed scales wedge-shaped, the exposed face horizontally diamond-shaped, protruding as a low pyramid crossed by a sharp ridge topped by a prominent umbo bearing a strong, sharp, upcurved spine (another justification for the scientific name). Seed body 4-6(-7) mm long, the firmly attached wing another (10-)15-22(-30) mm longer.

Appalachian Mountains and adjoining Piedmont of the eastern United States, from central Pennsylvania to northeastern Georgia. As scattered small groves or single trees among oaks and other fire-tolerant hardwoods; (100-)350-1,100(-1,400) m.


Conservation Status

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern

(Pinus pungens is a widespread species that is under some threat from altered forest management that prevents fires and encourages other species more suitable for timber production. However, its occurrence over a wide area (EOO >100,000 km²) and its ecology seem to ensure that it will not become threatened with extinction in the foreseeable future)



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.


Rootstock: Pinus sylvestris

Product CodePINN2PO535
Weight1.5 kg

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