What is the state tree of new mexico?

New Mexico State Tree

Nut Pine or Pinyon

(Pinaceae Pinus edulis)

Adopted on March 16, 1949.

When the New Mexico Federation of Women’s Clubs was asked to select a state tree, the pinyon, (Pinaceae Pinus edulis,) was their choice. It was adopted on March 16, 1949, the same day the roadrunner was adopted as the state bird. Ten years later, Nevada adopted the single-leaf pinyon.

New Mexico State Tree: Pinyon

Pinyon (Pinus edulis) is a small, drought-hardy, long-lived tree widespread in the southwestern United States. Its common name is derived from the Spanish piñon which refers to the large seed of pino (pine). For this reason the tree is known in the Southwest and throughout its range by this Spanish equivalent (49). Other common names are Colorado pinyon, nut pine, two-needle pinyon, and two-leaf pinyon (50). Its heavy, yellow wood is used primarily for fuel. Because of their delicate flavor its seeds are in much demand, making them its most valuable product.

Common names

Piñon ( Elmore & Janish 1976 ); New Mexican, Colorado, mesa, two-leaved, or common piñon (or pinyon) pine ( Peattie 1950 ).

Identification of the Pinyon

Pinus edulis, the Colorado pinyon, two-needle pinyon, or piñon pine, is a pine in the pinyon pine group whose ancestor was a member of the Madro-Tertiary Geoflora (a group of drought resistant trees) and is native to New Mexico

  • Leaf: Usually two needles per fascicle. Needles are coarse, thick, curved, blue-green or yellow-green, stiff, and one to two inches long.
  • Flower: Monoecious; males red, cylindrical, in clusters near ends of branches; females purplish at branch tips.
  • Fruit: Cones are ovoid, 2 inches long, short stalked, brown in color, with very thick cone scales. Each scale contains two very large edible “pine nuts”. Maturing in September and October.
  • Twig: Stout and orange-brown, somewhat scraggly.
  • Bark: Scaly or with small plates, red brown to gray.
  • Form: A small tree with an irregular rounded crown.
  • Habitat: Open, orchardlike woodlands, alone or with junipers. Mostly on dry, rocky foothills, mesas, plateaus and lower mountain slopes. Native to New Mexico.

New Mexico Law

The law designating the nut pine or pinon tree as the official New Mexico state tree is found in the 2013 New Mexico Statutes, Article 3, Section 12-4-4 C.

Chapter 12 – Miscellaneous Public Affairs Matters
Article 3 – State Seal, Song and Symbols
Section 12-3-4 – State flower; state bird; state tree; state fish; state animal; state vegetables; state gem; state grass; state fossil; state cookie; state insect; state question; state answer; state nickname; state butterfly; state reptile; state amphibian; state amphibian; state aircraft; state historic railroad; state tie; state necklace.
Universal Citation: NM Stat § 12-3-4 (2013)
12-3-4. State flower; state bird; state tree; state fish; state animal; state vegetables; state gem; state grass; state fossil; state cookie; state insect; state question; state answer; state nickname; state butterfly; state reptile; state amphibian; state aircraft; state historic railroad; state tie; state necklace. (2011)
A. The yucca flower is adopted as the official flower of New Mexico.
B. The chaparral bird, commonly called roadrunner, is adopted as the official bird of New Mexico.
C. The nut pine or pinon tree, scientifically known as Pinus edulis, is adopted as the official tree of New Mexico.
D. The native New Mexico cutthroat trout is adopted as the official fish of New Mexico.
E. The native New Mexico black bear is adopted as the official animal of New Mexico.
F. The chile, the Spanish adaptation of the chilli, and the pinto bean, commonly known as the frijol, are adopted as the official vegetables of New Mexico.
G. The turquoise is adopted as the official gem of New Mexico.
H. The blue grama grass, scientifically known as Bouteloua gracillis, is adopted as the official grass of New Mexico.
I. The coelophysis is adopted as the official fossil of New Mexico.
J. The bizcochito is adopted as the official cookie of New Mexico.
K. The tarantula hawk wasp, scientifically known as Pepsis formosa, is adopted as the official insect of New Mexico.
L. “Red or green?” is adopted as the official question of New Mexico.
M. “Red and green or Christmas” is adopted as the official answer of New Mexico.
N. “The Land of Enchantment” is adopted as the official nickname of New Mexico.
O. The Sandia hairstreak is adopted as the official butterfly of New Mexico.
P. The New Mexico whiptail lizard, scientifically known as Cnemidophorus neomexicanus, is adopted as the official reptile of New Mexico.
Q. The New Mexico spadefoot toad, scientifically known as Spea multiplicata, is adopted as the official amphibian of New Mexico.
R. The hot air balloon is adopted as the official aircraft of New Mexico.
S. The Cumbres and Toltec scenic railroad is adopted as the official historic railroad of New Mexico.
T. The bolo tie is adopted as the official tie of New Mexico.
U. The Native American squash blossom necklace is adopted as the official necklace of New Mexico.
History: Laws 1927, ch. 102, § 1; C.S. 1929, § 129-101; 1941 Comp., § 3-1303; Laws 1949, ch. 142, § 1; 1953 Comp., § 4-14-3; Laws 1955, ch. 245, § 1; 1963, ch. 2, § 1; 1965, ch. 20, § 1; 1967, ch. 51, § 1; 1967, ch. 118, § 1; 1973, ch. 95, § 1; 1981, ch. 123, § 1; 1989, ch. 8, § 1; 1989, ch. 154, § 1; 1999, ch. 266, § 1; 1999, ch. 271, § 1; 2003, ch. 182, § 1; 2005, ch. 4, § 1; 2005, ch. 254, § 1; 2007, ch. 10, § 1; 2007, ch. 179, § 1; 2011, ch. 52, § 1.

Taxonomic Hierarchy: Nut Pine or Pinon Tree

Kingdom: Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division: Coniferophyta – Conifers
Class: Pinopsida
Order: Pinales
Family: Pinaceae – Pine family
Genus: Pinus L. – pine
Species: Pinus edulis Engelm. –two needle pinyon

What’s The State Tree Of New Mexico?

Photo credit: See The Southwest Illustration

The Pinyon Pine is the state tree of New Mexico. It was chosen by the New Mexico Federation of Women’s Club and adopted on March 16, 1949 — the same day the roadrunner was adopted as the state bird. This small, drought-hardy, long-lived tree is widespread in the southwestern Unites States. It can be found in Colorado, southern Wyoming, eastern and central Utah, northern Arizona and New Mexico.

This hardy tree grows at altitudes from 4,600 – 9,800 feet, but does best in the mid-range altitudes. It normally forms open woodlands, but can grow even on the ledges and nooks and crannies in canyons.

The heavy wood of the Pinyon Pine is used for fuel and is so strong it was once made into plow heads that were used to break up soil for crop planting in the earliest agricultural settlements in the state. The seeds from the 2-inch cones have a delicate flavor that making them much in demand.

The name is derived from the Spanish word pinon, which refers to the large seed of the pino (pine).

Pinyon Pine Tree Care: Facts About Pinyon Pines

Many gardeners are unfamiliar with pinyon pines (Pinus edulis) and may ask “what does a pinyon pine look like?” Yet this little, water-thrifty pine may yet have its day in the sun as the entire country moves toward reducing water usage. Read on for more facts about pinyon pines.

Facts About Pinyon Pines

If you read pinyon pine information, you find that the pinyon pine – a small pine tree that rarely grows above 20 feet tall – is extremely water efficient. It thrives in its native range in the American Southwest on 15 inches or less of annual precipitation.

Pinyon pine grows yellow-green needles, about 2 inches long, that remain on the tree for some 8 or 9 years. The cones are small and resemble brown roses. Inside the cones you will find the treasured pine nuts, so it is no surprise that it is also written “pinon,” meaning pine nut in Spanish.

Pinyon Pine Information

The pinyon pine is not a fast growing tree. It grows slowly and steadily, developing a crown almost as wide as the tree is tall. After some 60 years growth, the tree might be 6 or 7 feet high. Pinyon pines can live long lives, even exceeding 600 years.

Homeowners in Utah, Nevada and New Mexico will not ask “What does a pinyon pine look like?” or “Where do pinyon pines grow?” The trees are among the predominant pines in the Great Basin region, and selected state trees of Nevada and New Mexico.

Growing Pinyon Pine Trees

If you are looking for trees that grow in dry soil and truly require minimal maintenance, think of the pinyon pine tree. Growing this tough tree is not difficult, as long as you do not try to offer too much pinyon pine tree care.

Plant pinyon pines in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 4 through 8 in well-drained soil in a full sun location. The trees generally do best at an elevation of less than 7,500 feet. Install them in dry locations on hillsides, not low lands where water collects.

Although the trees need regular irrigation at the time of transplant, you can and should reduce watering after they are established. Match your irrigation schedule to the tree and its growing conditions. If you want a general rule of thumb for watering, irrigate twice a month in summer and once a month in other seasons.

Despite the drought tolerance of these trees, pinyon pine tree growing works best with some irrigation. Repeated years of severe drought can stress the trees and lead to an attack by an insect called the pinyon Ips beetle.

However important it is to irrigate these trees occasionally, equally important in pinyon pine care is making a conscious effort not to overwater these trees. Many cultivated trees die from overwatering each year. Avoid offering frequent water, and never plant them on lawns.

Pinyon Pine

Common Name(s):

Twoneedle Pinyon
Singleleaf Pinyon
Pinyon Pine

Scientific Name:

Two Species:
Pinus edulis Engelm. (Twoneedle Pinyon)
Pinus monophylla Torr. and Frem. (Singleleaf Pinyon)

Scientific Name Synonyms:

None known


PIED (Twoneedle Pinyon)
PIMO (Singleaf Pinyon)


Life Span: Perennial

Origin: Native

Season: Evergreen

Growth Characteristics: Pinyon pine is a 10 to 30 foot tall tree, growing in a pyramidal or spreading shape. It reproduces from seeds.

Flowers/Inflorescence: Cones. Unisexual, in clusters at the ends of branches. The male cones occurring in clusters of 20 to 40, dark red to purplish red to yellow. Female cones are solitary and purplish. Mature female cones appear as “pine cones”, light brown to tan in color with thick scales. The cones don’t mature until September of the second year.

Fruits/Seeds: Seeds are pine nuts.

Leaves: 1 to 2 inch long needles, in spirally-arranged fascicles. There are 2 needles per fascicle in P. edulis, and 1 needle per fascicle in P. monophylla. New growth is bluish-green turning yellowish-green.

Stems: Twigs are smooth when young. Branches are rough and scaly. The bark is thin, gray to reddish-brown or nearly black. The trunk is frequently twisted and crooked. The bark is irregularly furrowed with small scales. Pine gum resin abundant.

Ecological Adaptions:

The woodland mosaic formed by pinyon pine occurs primarily on the high plains, plateaus, mesas, canyons, foothills, and lower mountain slopes of the Colorado Plateau. Sites are intermediate between ponderosa pine and submontane scrub above, and semiarid grassland or sagebrush steppe below. In the Great Basin, P. edulis is replaced by P. monophylla. Pinyon occurs most commonly at elevations between 4,500 and 7,500 feet where annual precipitation ranges from 12 to 18 inches.
The distribution of pinyon pine is primarily a function of climate. Its lower limits are determined by lack of moisture; upper limits by biotic competition, low temperatures, and excessive soil moisture. Therefore, the elevational zones it occupies vary considerably depending on local topography and geographical location. Pinyon pine usually grows on the higher elevation sites in the pinyon-juniper woodlands it occupies.

Soils: Dry and rocky soils.

Associated Species: Utah juniper, big sagebrush, Indian ricegrass.

Uses and Management:

Pinyon pine is worthless as forage for livestock. Although not preferred, cattle will use pinyon needles. Pinyon needles are believed to cause abortion in cows. The seeds are important wildlife food for several songbirds, quails, squirrels, chipmunks, black bears, and mule deer.

The seed crop of pinyon pine is valuable and is used in making candies, cakes, and cookies. The seeds were a staple food in American Indian diets and were eaten raw, roasted, or ground into flour. Seed crops are erratic, depending on moisture, and Indian migrations were determined by location of seed crops. Needles were steeped for tea. The inner bark served as starvation food for American Indians.

Today incense is made from crushed cones. Indians still use the pitch as a caulking compound for watertight baskets and as glue for turquoise jewelry. The annual harvest of pinyon nuts exceeds 1million pounds. This crop is second in commercial value only to pecans among the uncultivated nuts of the United States. Singleleaf Pinyon Pine (P. monophylla) nuts are larger and more desirable than those from P. edulis.

The tree is also desired as a Christmas tree because of its aromatic fragrance, and the wood is used for fuel and fence posts.

Pinyon Pine Trees

Icons of the Southwest

by Damian Fagan

A pinyon pine flourishes on slickrock’s edge in the snowy landscape.

It is early autumn as we hike a trail across the mesa top at the Island in the Sky District of Canyonlands National Park in southeastern Utah. Cotton candy clouds float high above us and a light breeze joins us from the southwest. The morning is quiet until a horde of nut-crazy visitors descends upon us.

A small cloud of gunmetal-blue pinyon jays lands on a nearby pinyon pine. The raucous jays keep up their chatter as they forage for pine nuts. The jays know what we have discovered – this is one of those years where the pinyon trees bear a mother lode of nuts. Bumper crops don’t happen every year, maybe once every four to seven years. Some years the harvest is good, but this year’s crop is excellent.

Pinyon pine cone, still green, not quite ready for hungry jays, or human consumption.

The woody cones offer up their seeds to the hungry jays. With spreading scales the cones provide easy access for the jays to pick out the seeds. Whereas, our fingers are coated with pine pitch, testimony to our collection efforts, the jays seem immune to “getting pitched.” From a distance we see the jays mobbing the cones until then suddenly depart like a horde of mosquitoes.

A pinyon jay can discern by color or weight between a viable nut and one that did not mature through the embryonic cycle. If the seed’s thin shell coats are two-toned or if the shell is lightweight, the jays discard the duds and grab the keepers with their stout beaks. The birds gorge themselves, but also store seeds in their crops. These seeds will either be consumed or cached somewhere away from the trees for future use. The jays remember the locations of these caches – a remarkable feat.

Pinyons are icons of the Southwest. The sweet pinyon wood fragrance is associated with pueblos and adobe homes and evokes images of sprawling mesas. Harvested for timber and firewood over the centuries, the Ancestral Puebloans, formerly known as the Anasazi, used pinyon poles as door headers in their dwellings.

A testament to the growing power of the pinyon can be found in an isolated grove in Owl Creek Canyon near Ft. Collins, Colorado. The nearest tree is miles away; these pines owe their existence to a cache of nuts left by Native Americans some 400 years ago.

Pinyon Pines are iconic trees of the Southwest.


Pinyon trees are found throughout the Southwest ranging across the Four Corners region to Nevada and California at elevations generally between 4,500 and 7,500 feet, up to 9,300 feet on south-facing slopes. Growing in arid climates, areas with precipitation between 10 and 18” a year, the pinyons grow on rocky slopes and mesas, mixing in with big sagebrush, rabbitbrush, and junipers to form the characteristic woodlands of the Colorado Plateau.

These vast woodlands include Utah, one-seeded, and alligator junipers depending upon the location. Though the composition varies between the junipers and some different pinyon species, this “P-J belt” covers thousands of acres across the Southwest. The name “pinyon” is the anglicized version of the Spanish name piñon.

Pinyon nuts are delicious and nutritious. High in fats, iron, vitamin A, thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin, pinyon nuts were, and still are, a highly coveted crop.

Nuts over Nuts

Pinyon jays are not the only birds interested in the pinyon nuts. Clark’s nutcrackers, western scrub jays, Steller’s jays and wild turkeys also eat the ripe seeds. The jays and nutcrackers create caches like the pinyon jays, but the turkeys gobble down the seeds, shells and all. The turkey’s tough gizzard grinds the shells down to a pulp. Other wildlife that compete for this nutritious food source are black bears, mule deer, woodrats, pinyon mice, ground squirrels, chipmunks, and porcupines, although the latter prefers the inner bark of the pinyon tree over the pinyon nuts.

Native Americans also collected pinyon nuts for hundreds of years before Europeans probed the area for reported wealth and treasures. The Ancient Ones depended upon the trees for food and fuel, building materials and medicines. They were custodians of these forests, maybe even tending to them like orchards.

Sweet pinyon nuts are highly nutritious, containing about 20 amino acids and about 3,000 calories per pound. High in fats, iron, vitamin A, thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin, pinyon nuts were, and still are, a highly coveted crop.

The relationship between the pinyon and the jay is much more than just a food source. The tree produces cones that, when open, provide the jays easy access to the large seeds. And the jays have stout beaks that are specialized for extracting nuts from even unopened cones. Humans, unable to crack through these closed cones like a jay, place the resinous closed cones in the fire, where they pop open like popcorn. Both birds and humans alike have an easy time with the thin shells.

The first to report the pinyon tree to the European World was a Spaniard named Nunez Cabeza de Vaca in 1535. He and several companions were the sole survivors of a shipwreck along the Gulf Coast. They spent the next eight years trying to find a way home to Mexico City, a New World outpost carved into the wilderness. Nunez de Vacas wrote about this ordeal and how pinyon nuts kept them from starving on the plains of Texas.

New to Science

In 1846, Frederick Aldophus Wislizenus, a German physician, explorer and plant collector reached the southwest where he collected pine specimens and sent them back to the botanist George Engelmann in St. Louis. Engelmann named the species after the edible pine nuts, “piños piñoneros,” calling them Pinus edulis. This is the Colorado or two-needled pinyon pine and depending upon the taxonomy, there are several recognized pinyon species. One such species is the single-leaf pinyon or P. monophylla.

Tree Characteristics

Identified by 1 to 2 inch long needles that arise in pairs from a papery sheath, the thick needles are slightly curved and pointed at the tip. Many pinyon trees have a distinct profile that includes a thick truck, numerous branches and a rounded crown. Set off from the junipers that they co-exist with, the darker pinyons are a contrast to the blue-green coloration of the junipers.

Generally long-lived, pinyons may become infested with dwarf mistletoe that sinks rootlike tendrils into the wood. Living off of the pinyon, the mistletoe draws nutrients and moisture from the plant. When this parasitic plant produces seeds, the sticky seeds are ejected out of the pods and may travel 60 miles per hour and up to 50 feet away. If the sticky seed lands on another pinyon, that tree may become infected.

The mistletoe may stress the tree, but drought, lightning and insects take a greater toll on the trees. At times, hillsides may turn brown as the trees die; setting up a scenario of high fire danger that can sweep through the dead forests. Sometimes catastrophic, these fires also open up sites where jays may bury their excess seeds, thus continuing the cycle of the pinyon woodland.

New Mexico adopted the pinyon pine on March 16, 1949 as its state tree. Ten years later, Nevada adopted the single-leaf pinyon as its state tree.

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More about Desert Trees

New Mexico Piñon, Mexican Piñon, Papershell Piñon

Pinus edulis Engelm.; Pinus cembroides Zucc.; Pinus remota (Little) Bailey & Hawkesworth

Three Trans-Pecos piñon species were used for food and other needs by native peoples: New Mexico piñon, Mexican piñon, and the papershell piñon. All are small to medium evergreen trees with relatively short needles. Mexican piñon grows mostly on soil from igneous substrates and papershell piñon on soil from limestone parent material. In the Trans-Pecos Mexican piñon grows at higher eleveations and papershell piñon at somewhat lower elevations in the central and eastern half of the region. New Mexico piñon grows mostly in the western Trans-Pecos, and is the state tree of New Mexico (Powell 1998). Although piñon is known for its edible seeds, the plant had many other uses including medicinal and as a material for fashioning tools.

Archeology. Piñon is seldom recovered from archeological sites. In the eastern Trans-Pecos, however, two mortars made of piñon wood have been found in caves or crevices in Terrell County (Collins and Hester 1968; Prewitt 1981). One of the mortars contained prickly pear seeds, attesting to its use for pulverizing the fruit (Collins and Hester 1968).

Food. The Mescalero Apache valued the piñon nut or seed, but they did not rely on it, for the crops were too unpredictable. The harvest fluctuated due to variability in the local tree populations and to long-term weather conditions. However, once parched, the piñon nut was easily stored so they collected large quantities whenever possible. Nuts were usually collected in October, but they could persist on the trees throughout the winter if the crop was bountiful (Basehart 1960).

The Mescalero collected the nuts in family or in larger informal groups, usually comprised mostly of women; no claim was made to specific stands of trees. Usually the nuts were gathered from the ground, but sometimes the nuts were shaken from the tree onto animal hides. Although up to 25 pounds of nuts could be collected by a single woman, a pack rat midden could yield 50 to 100 pounds (Basehart 1960). The Zuni gathered large quantities of nuts, parched them, and stored them for winter use (Stevenson 1915).

Processing piñon nuts was relatively simple; they were parched on hot rocks or coals and stored in the shells. The Mescalero ground them sometimes leaving them in the shell. The powder or meal was mixed with other foods, including banana yucca (datil), mesquite meal, or agave/sotol cakes. The nuts were stored in containers (Basehart 1960; Buskirk 1986). In addition to storing the whole nuts, the Ramah Navajo ground them, fashioned them into sun-dried cakes, and stored the cakes (Vestal 1952).

Ceremonial. The Mescalero gathered pollen in the spring and used it as a substitute for cattail pollen. Piñon nuts were considered an important food for girl’s puberty rites (Basehart 1960). The Ramah Navajo used branches from trees struck by lightning in the Evilway ceremony (Vestal 1952).

Medicinal and hygienic. Colds were treated by inhaling smoke from the needles or from burning resin (Basehart 1960; Vestal 1952). A poultice of masticated buds were applied to burns by the Ramah Navajo. They also used a concoction of needles as an emetic for ceremonies (Vestal 1952). In an application reminiscent of the bikini wax, heated resin was applied to facial hair to facilitate its removal (Buskirk 1986). I trust that the temperature of the resin was carefully controlled.

The Zuni used the piñon for several medicinal applications. Consuming the needles, or consuming an infusion of the needles, promoted profuse sweating. The resin was ground and applied to lanced skin infections as an antiseptic.

Tools, implements, building construction, and dye. The wood was used for cradle boards and weaving implements, and the resin for waterproofing basketry. (Basehart 1960; Vestal 1952). The resin was also used to dye wool by the Ramah Navajo. They used the logs and branches in the construction of hogans, fences, and sweathouses. Of course, the wood was used for fuel (Vestal 1952).

Basehart, Harry
1960 Mescalero Apache Subsistence Patterns and Socio-Political Organization. The University of New Mexico Mescalero-Chiricahua Land Claims Project Contract Research #290-154. University of New Mexico. Albuquerque.

Buskirk, Winfred
1986 The Western Apache: Living with the Land Before 1950. University of Oklahoma Press, Norman.

Collins, Michael B. and Thomas R. Hester
1968 A Wooden Mortar and Pestle From Val Verde County, Texas. Texas Archeological Society 39:1-8.

Powell, A. Michael
1998 Trees and Shrubs of the Trans-Pecos and Adjacent Areas. University of Texas Press. Austin.

Prewitt, Elton R.
1981 A Wooden Mortar from the Stockton Plateau of Texas. Journal of Field Archaeology 8:111-117.

Vestal, Paul
1952 Ethnobotany of the Ramah Navaho. Papers of the Peabody Museum of American Archaeology and Ethnology 40 (4). Harvard University. Boston.

Pinyon PineOut Of Stock

***We ran out of stock quickly this season. We will have more seedlings in late Spring***

The Pinyon Pine is a majestic, slow growing evergreen nut tree that is exceptionally long lived (at up to 1000 years this really is a tree for the future!). The cones contain edible pine nuts which are sold commercially as a native food. The small nuts are highly valued for their culinary and nutritional qualities and are a primary ingredient in making pesto. Their flavor is buttery, mild and sweet with slight notes of citrus. The nuts are especially rich in mono-unsaturated fatty acids that helps to lower LDL or “bad cholesterol” and increases HDL or “good-cholesterol” in the blood. Additionally, they contain numerous health promoting phyto-chemicals, vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals. Pine nuts can occasionally cause a condition known as Pine Mouth with causes other foods to taste bitter for up to a couple days. The cause of this condition is unknown and seems to be a random problem that is only caused by certain batches of pine nuts.

Ornamental Qualities

The Pinyon Pine is a beautiful, densely foliaged small pine that is especially well suited for rock gardens and xeriscaping. They are bushy and symmetrical when young, maturing into a spreading tree with a rounded or flat crown. They have attractive needled foliage, one to two inches long, usually curved with a delicate blue-grey coloration. The color and soft texture, along with exceptional drought hardiness, make the Pinyon Pine a highly desirable addition to ornamental gardens.

Environment and Culture

The Pinyon Pine is a native of the Southwest, and has a wide range from Texas through California. Their seeds were extensively collected by Native Americans and are still a highly prized food for both humans and wildlife. They will grow well with both Oregon White Oak and California Black Oak. They will also benefit from a companion planting with either the Red Stem Ceanothus or the Blue Blossom Ceanothus. The large cones will attract chipmunks, squirrels and Jays who all favor the nuts and promote the establishment of new stands.

Harvest, Care, and Preparation

The Pinyon Pine is very slow growing and in most conditions will need almost no attention. Light pruning to direct growth and water during establishment may be necessary, after establishment they rarely need attention as they are extremely drought tolerant. However they will not grow well in heavy, saturated soils. Unlike the California Foothill Pine, the Pinyon cones do not readily drop their seeds, thus it is necessary to use a pole to knock down the large cones after they ripen. The nuts can be eaten raw or cooked and pair well with both sweet and savory dishes. A light toasting helps to bring out their flavor.

  • Native Range: CA, CO, AZ, TX, NM, WY, UT
  • USDA zones: 1-11
  • Ease of Care: Easy
  • Deer Resistance: High
  • Light Requirements: Full Sun
  • Soil Type: Light to Medium, especially prefers rocky, well drained soils
  • Water Requirements: Low, the most drought tolerant of all the pines.
  • Pollination: Self-Fertile
  • Bearing Age: 25 years
  • Size at Maturity: 15-60 Feet
  • Plant Spacing: 10-20 Feet
  • Bloom Time: Feb-Mar
  • Harvest Time: Sept-Oct

Pinyon Stone Pine

The Pinyon Stone Pine has been a staple food source for people living in the North American Southwest for thousands of years. In past years the Pinyon Pines of the Great Basin create thousands of pounds of incredibly delicious high quality pine nuts that are highly valued to this day. Slow growing and well adapted to the extreme conditions of the Southwest, the Pinyon Pine is a great nut crop for the xeriscape or wild garden. All it needs is well draining soil, being hardy all the way down to USDA Zone 4! Be sure not to overwater after trees are established as the garden hose can bring about their demise. Likely not adaptable to areas with warm season rain, but worth a try if you have very good drainage. A great tree for the west.

Latin Name: Pinus edulis
Site and Soil: Pinyon pines prefer as full sun as possible.
Pollination Requirements: Pinyon Stone Pine is self-fertile.
Hardiness: Pinyon Stone Pine is hardy to -40º F. or below.
Bearing Age: 5 years or more after planting.
Size at Maturity: 25-30 ft. in height.
Bloom Time: Spring
Ripening Time: Fall
Yield: 20+ lbs.
Pests & Diseases: Our Pines have not been bothered by pests or diseases.
USDA Zone: 4
Sunset Western Zone: 8-9, 12-24, h1
Sunset Northeast Zone: Not listed

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