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Bristlecone Pine
Home  > Tree Identification  > Bristlecone Pine

Bristlecone Pine

Pinus aristata

The native range of Bristlecone Pine includes parts of Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah.

Considered to be the oldest living trees on earth, Bristlecone Pines become gnarled and twisted with age in their native mountain habitats. Several Bristlecone Pine specimens have been aged to nearly 5,000 years old.

As a landscape tree the Bristlecone Pine can be used as a specimen tree or a container plant. They are well adapted to growing in cold, windy climates and dry soil. In a favorable location the slow-growing Bristlecone Pine will assume a somewhat conical form.

The curved, 1 - 1.5” long, needles of Bristlecone Pine are bundled in groups of five and are often dotted with gray-white resin flecks. Unlike other pine trees, the needles may remain on the twigs for 20 - 30 years.

Bristlecone Pine cones range from 3 - 5” long. The scales of the cones may also have dots of resin and are tipped with a long, stiff, incurved prickle.

The wood of Bristlecone Pine is dense and resinous making it resistant to most insect and disease pests. Despite this advantage some trees have been damaged by blister rust and pine beetles.

Bristlecone Pine characteristics:

Common insect pests of Bristlecone Pine: Pine beetles

Common disease pests of Bristlecone Pine: Blister rust

Form: Conical when young; irregular on mature trees

Fruit: 3 - 5" long cones tipped with a long, stiff, incurved prickle

Growth Rate: Slow

Leaves: 1 - 1.5" long and often dotted with gray-white resin flecks.

Mature height: 20 - 60’

Preferred soil pH: 6.1 - 7.8

Summer foliage: Bright blue-green

Tree Bark: Smooth ashy-white on young trees; reddish-brown, fissured, scaly on mature trees.

USDA Hardiness Zone: 5 - 7

Bristlecone Pine - CA

California Bristlecone Pine

Bristlecone Pine trees

Nevada Bristlecone Pine


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