Gregg’s Pine, Pinus greggii
Gregg’s pine (Pinus greggii) is native to eastern Mexico. The name is derived from a merchant, explorer, naturalist, and author of the American Southwest and Northern Mexico, Josiah Gregg (1806-1850). This pine is closely related to the Patula pine with the difference being in the length of the needles and the bark of the tree.
The Gregg’s pine grows at altitudes between 4265 – 8530 feet in the highlands region while in the northern part of its region it grows at altitudes of 7546-8858 feet above sea level. The Gregg’s pine is a small to medium tree growing to heights of 49.21-65.62 feet high. The bark is smooth until becoming aged at which time the bark will be rough at the base of the tree with deep thick cracks going up and down the trunk forming scales. The upper trunk and branches will be smooth and grayish-brown with the crown becoming rounded, loose, and open.
The annual precipitation in the region is between 23.6 and 31.5 inches with some getting as much as 39.37 – 62.99 inches along the Hidalgo-Veracruz border. This pine cannot stand long frost periods.
The needles are bright green, grow in bundles of three, and measure 2.75 – 5.90 inches long. Cones grow in groups of five to ten with the pollen cones located near the center of new shoots and are a pale yellow when immature ripening to yellowish-brown. Pollen cones are oval to cylinder in shape and measure 0.59-0.78 inches long and 0.196-0.236 inches wide at the base. The seed cones are light brown when ripened and measure 2.36-5.11 inches long and 1.57-2.75 inches wide at the base when open. The seed cones are a misshapen cone shape growing in clusters of five to ten. Cones begin pollination when they are four or five years old and ripen 21 months later in December and January.
The wood of this pine is pale yellow is used for construction of bridges, cabins, as well as furniture, fence posts, and fuel. The Gregg’s pine is considered endangered in Mexico due to deforestation and converting forestland into agricultural land to be used by grazing animals. The cones are handpicked when they are light brown for preservation purposes.
Image Caption: Gregg’s pine (Pinus greggii). Credit: Wilma Verburg/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 2.5)