Colorado Pinyon

From - Plant Encyclopedia and Gardening wiki
Jump to: navigation, search
Colorado Pinyon
Fossil range: {{{fossil_range}}}
Colorado Pinyons at Bryce Canyon National Park
Colorado Pinyons at Bryce Canyon National Park
Plant Info
Common name(s): {{{common_names}}}
Growth habit: {{{growth_habit}}}
Height: {{{high}}}
Width: {{{wide}}}
Lifespan: {{{lifespan}}}
Exposure: {{{exposure}}}
Water: {{{water}}}
Features: {{{features}}}
Poisonous: {{{poisonous}}}
Hardiness: {{{hardiness}}}
USDA Zones: {{{usda_zones}}}
Sunset Zones: {{{sunset_zones}}}
Scientific classification
Domain: {{{domain}}}
Superkingdom: {{{superregnum}}}
Kingdom: Plantae
Subkingdom: {{{subregnum}}}
Superdivision: {{{superdivisio}}}
Superphylum: {{{superphylum}}}
Division: Pinophyta
Phylum: {{{phylum}}}
Subdivision: {{{subdivisio}}}
Subphylum: {{{subphylum}}}
Infraphylum: {{{infraphylum}}}
Microphylum: {{{microphylum}}}
Nanophylum: {{{nanophylum}}}
Superclass: {{{superclassis}}}
Class: Pinopsida
Sublass: {{{subclassis}}}
Infraclass: {{{infraclassis}}}
Superorder: {{{superordo}}}
Order: Pinales
Suborder: {{{subordo}}}
Infraorder: {{{infraordo}}}
Superfamily: {{{superfamilia}}}
Family: Pinaceae
Subfamily: {{{subfamilia}}}
Supertribe: {{{supertribus}}}
Tribe: {{{tribus}}}
Subtribe: {{{subtribus}}}
Genus: Pinus
Subgenus: Ducampopinus
Section: {{{sectio}}}
Series: {{{series}}}
Species: P. edulis
Subspecies: {{{subspecies}}}
Binomial name
Pinus edulis
Trinomial name
Type Species

The Colorado Pinyon or Two-needle Pinyon (Pinus edulis) is a pine in the pinyon pine group, native to the United States. The range is in Colorado, eastern and central Utah, northern Arizona, New Mexico and the Guadalupe Mountains in westernmost Texas. It occurs at moderate altitudes from 1600-2400 m, rarely as low as 1400 m and as high as 3000 m. It is widespread and often abundant in this region, forming extensive open woodlands, usually mixed with junipers.

It is a small to medium size tree, reaching 10-20 m tall and with a trunk diameter of up to 80 cm, rarely more. The bark is irregularly furrowed and scaly. The leaves ('needles') are in pairs, moderately stout, 3-5.5 cm long, and green, with stomata on both inner and outer surfaces but distinctly more on the inner surface forming a whitish band. The cones are globose, 3-5 cm long and broad when closed, green at first, ripening yellow-buff when 18-20 months old, with only a small number of thick scales, with typically 5-10 fertile scales. The cones open to 4-6 cm broad when mature, holding the seeds on the scales after opening. The seeds are 10-14 mm long, with a thin shell, a white endosperm, and a vestigial 1-2 mm wing; they are dispersed by the Pinyon Jay, which plucks the seeds out of the open cones. The jay, which uses the seeds as a food resource, stores many of the seeds for later use, and some of these stored seeds are not used and are able to grow into new trees.

Colorado Pinyon was described by George Engelmann in 1848 from collections made near Santa Fe, New Mexico on Alexander William Doniphan's expedition to northern Mexico in 1846.

It is most closely related to the Single-leaf Pinyon, which hybridises with it occasionally where their ranges meet in western Arizona and Utah. It is also closely related to the Texas Pinyon, but is separated from it by a gap of about 100 km so does not hybridise with it.

An isolated population of trees in the New York Mountains of southeast California, previously thought to be Colorado Pinyons, have recently been shown to be a two-needled variant of Single-leaf Pinyon from chemical and genetic evidence. Occasional two-needled pinyons in northern Baja California, Mexico have sometimes been referred to Colorado Pinyon in the past, but are now known to be hybrids between Single-leaf Pinyon and Parry Pinyon.


The edible seeds, pine nuts, are extensively collected throughout its range; in many areas, the seed harvest rights are owned by Native American tribes, for whom the species is of immense cultural and economic importance. The destruction of large areas of pinyon forests in the interests of cattle ranching is seen by many as an act of major ecological and cultural vandalism. Colorado Pinyon is also occasionally planted as an ornamental tree and sometimes used as a christmas tree.

It is the State tree of New Mexico.

References and external links

inus.htm Photo of cones (scroll ¾-way down)]

blog comments powered by Disqus
Personal tools
Bookmark and Share