Plant family: Pinaceae - Pine
Plant type: Slope Stabilizer, Tree
Plant origin: N/A, California, Floristic Provence of Baja
Sub-Alpine Forest, Woodland/Forest
Decomposed Granite, Sandy Loam, Serpentine, Rocky
Important to Native People
Coulter’s Pine or Big Cone Pine is a large conifer, gray to green in color, and growing in a roughly pyramidal shape from 30’ to 70’ in height, with a spread of 20’ to 30’. The stiff, dark green needles on this pine tree are 12” long, and the tree bears the world’s largest and heaviest pine cones, measuring 7” to 16” long and weighing 4 to 5 pounds or more. A person familiar with Big Cone pine justly described their giant cones as “pineapple sized”… and also mentioned taking caution when walking around underneath the trees when the cones are ready to drop! The bark on Coulter’s pine is gray, flakey and furrowed. Coulter’s pine is drought tolerant, thriving in warmth and on dry rocky slopes, which would make it an excellent large screen. Pinus coulteri grows well with oaks, manzanita and Ceanonthus. Once established, Coulter’s pine needs little supplemental water if at all. Birds and squirrels love to eat the pine seeds, which were an important food source for Native Americans. Thomas Coulter, an Irish botanist, lent his name to this pine when he stumbled upon it in 1831 while collecting plants in California and Mexico.
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