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Woody > Pinus > Pinus edulis > Pinus edulis

Pinus edulis

Rocky Mountain Pinyon, Two Needle Pinyon, Nut Pine, Pinyon Pine,

Origin:  Pinus edulis grows typically in western parts of North America, including Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico.
            Mike's Opinion

this is Mike


Pinus edulis is a beautiful slow growing pine tree. A rather hardy drought resident plant that would make a perfect plant for a collector. Pinus edulis can live extremely long, easily up to 500 years. The Native Americans used to eat and trade the Pinus edulis nut as it had great health benefits. For anyone looking for a pristine specimen of tree Pinus edulis, it would be a great choice due to its slow growth rate, reddish-brown bark and its edible fruit. This makes this pine tree a very special plant.

Michael Pascoe, NDP., ODH., CLT., MSc. (Plant Conservation)


Tree (evergreen)
USDA Hardiness Zone
5 - 8
Canadian Hardiness Zone
RHS Hardiness Zone
2 - 5
Temperature (°C)
18 - 25
Temperature (°F)
65 - 70
8 - 12 m
1 - 10 m
Description and Growing Information
Flowering Period
General Description
They are on the smaller side of evergreen trees only growing 8-12 m with a rough reddish bark. They usually have a crooked trunk with green/blue needles.
It does make a very fine specimen tree due to its slow growth and its beautiful red bark.
Prefers dry soil conditions but can handle moist soils as well. Requires full sun and does not handle shade well. ph levels between 5 and 7 are but should establish mycorrhiza fungus to maintain full plant health.
Upright, oval shape, wide-spread tree with cracked bark that is red in colour. A crooked trunk as it matures usually ends up making the tree lean in one direction.
The Pinyon ips beetle feeds on the sap of the tree and since the tree has such low water levels the tree cannot regenerate its sap and sapwood so it slowly begins to die. The Ips beetle also releases a chemical that is very toxic to the tree and will increase the rate at which the tree dies. Watering during drought periods also helps remediate infestations.
It does extremely well in sandy soils so Arizona and New Mexico which is its ideal habitat however it does well in the rocky parts of the southern states because of its long tap root and its ability to withstand drought.
Bark/Stem Description
Rigid thin bark that is reddish-brown colour. Trunk of the tree is usually crooked with branches growing close to the base of the trunk.
Flower/Leaf Bud Description
Leaf Description
Needles are approximately 3-5 cm in length, twisted, and are a greenish-blue colour, with 2-3 needles per fascicle are in groups of 2-3.
Flower Description
The male cones occur in clusters of 20-30 on the end of the branches, colour of the male cones is a darkish red to purple. The female cones bloom yellowish but later turn a brownish-purple. Both male and female buds appear scaly in texture.
Fruit Description
The mature female cones are dark brown in colour.
To obtain seeds: dry out the cones after harvesting them in the late summer/autumn. However, since the tree is such a slow growing tree it may take up to 20 years before the tree produces any cones. The seeds can be easily shaken out of the cones. Once seeds are obtained you can start the germination process. The ideal temperature for germination is between 15 to 20°C (anything lower than 10°C, the seed will go into a dormant stage and will not grow). A temperature higher than 25°C will stunt the growth of the plant produce a weak sapling. The best type of media for planting is sandy soil with peat moss or some kind of organic material. Pinus edulis suffers from a phosphorus deficiency if it is not growing in the presence of mycorrhiza fungus, so it is best to plant in soils with mycorrhiza fungus already cultivated in it.
Ethnobotanical Uses (Disclaimer)
The seeds used to be traded and eaten by the Native Americans. The seeds are known as pinon nuts which can be eaten raw or cooked. The wood from the tree was used for firewood and for construction by the Native Americans. The needles of the tree also have a distinct taste when boiled and can be used as a tea. The needles carry a medicinal property. The needles are used as a gentle diuretic and can be used as an expectorant. They are also sold as Christmas trees in the southwestern parts of the United States.