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Bristlecone Pine
Scientific Name: Pinus aristata Engelm.
Synonym: Pinus balfouriana var. aristata
Family: Pinaceae
Bristlecone Pine (Pinus  aristata)
Pinus aristata, 19514 U.S.D.A. Forest Service, courtesy of Hunt Institute
Recommended Temperature Zone:
USDA: 5-8

Sun Exposure: Full sun, intolerant of shade

Origin: USA (Arizona, New Mexico) for the type, California, Utah, Nevada for the Intermountain Bristlecone Pine, sometimes considered a different species: Pinus longaeva. Both types grow on dry rock slopes.

Growth Habits: Small to medium-sized evergreen conifer, very slowly up to 15 to 30 feet tall (5-9 m), 10 to 15 feet spread (3-4.5 m); dark green needles in 5s, 0.8 to 1.6 inches long (2-4 cm), abundant white specks of resin on the needles

Watering Needs: Little to very little water, does not like air pollution, likes well-drained soils

Propagation: Seeds, slow-growing cuttings from very young trees.


'Sherwood Compact' - is a dense dwarf cultivar with shorter needles.

Bristlecone Pine (Pinus  aristata)

Cultural Practices:
The Bristlecone Pine can be used as a container plant for many years, thanks to its extremely slow growth rate.
The trees don't like to be transplanted, and they should be put in their definitive locations when they are 2 to 3 feet tall (60-90 cm), at most.

Blooming Habits:

Fruiting Habits:
Mature female cones are reddish. They measure 3 to 3.5 inches long (7.5-9 cm) when they ripen in mid-September, they take 2 years to mature.


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Desert-Tropicals is dedicated to provide gardening advice, gardening ideas, and information about flower of all kind for landscape and collections. We try to check carefully the identification of the plants on the illustrations as well as the other information from the page, but occasionally errors do occur. if you notice anything that needs to be changed please contact us. Thanks.

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