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Limber Pine Pinus flexilis


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Family: Pinaceae, Pine view all from this family

Description Trees often have an irregular or multi-stemmed trunk, frequently contorted at high elevations in extreme conditions. Crown conic, rounded with age. Branches spreading and uplifted. Cones, cylindrical 8-15 cm long. Bark light grey, smooth, becoming dark brown with scaly plates and ridges. Needles 5 per fascicle, spreading and ascending. Pollen cones reddish or yellow. Buds light red-brown, 0.9–1 cm, resinous. Seeds large 7-12 mm long, sometimes with a vestigial wing.

Dimensions Height: 12-15 m. (40-50 ft)
Diameter: 0.6-0.9 m. (2-3 ft).

Habitat Mountains.

Range Plains, California, Rocky Mountains, Northwest, Southwest.

Discussion The large, wingless seeds of limber pine have high energy content. Pine "nuts" provide critical food for rodents and birds, which cache the seeds for later use. Other small mammals and birds benefit from these caches. Bears also feed from caches. Stands provide key winter range for deer and elk. Bighorn sheep use open stands on ridges.