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.