Apache Pine, Pinus engelmannii
Apache pine (Pinus engelmannii) grows in the south west from northern Mexico to southwestern New Mexico and southeastern Arizona. This pine is closely related to the Michoacan pine and the longleaf pine.
The Apache pine grows on canyon slopes, ridges, and stream-side terraces at altitudes between 5000 and 9100 feet above sea level. The climate preferred by this tree is somewhat dry with little rainfall during the summer. This pine can grow in all types of soil from sandy to clay and sand with gravel and only four to six inches deep.
The Apache pine is a medium sized tree growing to heights of 65-98 feet with a trunk diameter between 14 and 32 inches. The bark is thick and the crown is open and round. The branches are short and widely separated giving this tree a very distinct look. The needles grow in bundles of three, sometimes four or five, and measure 8-15 inches long giving the branches a droopy look. Cones are green or purple when immature and ripen to a glossy brown. They grow in clusters of two or four and measure 4-7 inches long with spines on the scales. Cones mature in two years with seeds dispersing 20-24 months later.
The wood of this pine is very heavy and hard. It was used as firewood by the locals and occasionally for construction timbers and lumber. The seeds are a source of food for many wildlife species as well as the tree as a whole providing cover.
Image Caption: Apache pine (Pinus engelmannii). Credit: Chris M/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 2.0)