Pinus coulteri

D. Don

Trans. Linn. Soc. London, Bot. 17: 440. 1836.

Common names: Coulter pine
Treatment appears in FNA Volume 2.

Trees to 24m; trunk to 1m diam., straight to contorted; crown broad, thin, irregular. Bark dark gray-brown to near black, deeply furrowed, with long, scaly, irregularly anastomosing, rounded ridges. Branches often ascending; twigs stout to moderately slender, violet-brown, often glaucous, aging gray-brown, rough. Buds ovoid, deep red-brown, 1.5(–3)cm, resinous; scale margins white-fringed, apex cuspidate. Leaves 3 per fascicle, slightly spreading, not drooping, mostly ascending in a brush, persisting 3–4 years, 15–30cm × ca. 2mm, slightly curved or straight, twisted, dusty gray-green, all surfaces with pale, fine stomatal lines, margins serrulate, apex abruptly subulate; sheath 2–4cm, base persistent. Pollen cones ovoid to cylindric, to 25mm, light purple-brown, aging orange-brown. Seed cones maturing in 2 years, gradually shedding seeds thereafter and moderately persistent, massive, heavy, drooping, asymmetric at base, narrowly ovoid before opening, ovoid-cylindric when open, 20–35cm, pale yellow-brown, resinous, stalks to 3cm; apophyses transverse-rhombic, strongly and sharply cross-keeled, elongate, curved, continuous with umbos to form long, upcurved claws 2.5–3cm. Seeds obovoid; body 15–22mm, dark brown; wing to 25mm. 2n =24.

Habitat: Dry rocky slopes, flats, ridges, and chaparral, transitional to oak-pine woodland
Elevation: 300–2100m


V2 672-distribution-map.gif

Calif., Mexico in Baja California.


Pinus coulteri is the heaviest-coned pine; one who seeks its shade should wear a hardhat.

Selected References


Lower Taxa