Bishop Pine, Pinus muricata

Bishop pine (Pinus muricata) grows on or near the coast in California and Mexico; becoming endangered in Mexico. This tree also goes by the name of prickle cone pine, bull pine, Obispo pine, Santa Cruz pine and dwarf marine pine. This pine relies on the dense fog from the coast for its water supply as well as rainwater. This pine is also highly dependent on forest fires for future regeneration and may become extinct with the prevention of forest fires in its region.

The Bishop pine grows at sea level to 984 feet and grows to heights of 49-82 feet tall with a trunk diameter of 3.9 feet. The trees grow straight or twisted with the deep grooves causing scaly bark. The bark is orange-brown when young and matures to dark brown or black. Needles are dark yellow-green on trees in the south of their region and blue-green in the northern regions. The needles grow in bundles of two, slightly twisted and measures 2-6 inches long. All cones are egg shaped and has sharp prickles on each scale. Pollen cones are orange and measure 0.19 inches long. Seed cones are chestnut brown; grow in groups and measure 1.5-3.5 inches long. Cones will open to disperse seeds once exposed to extreme heat.

The Bishop pine grows in dry, rocky soils and is drought tolerant. The pine is planted as a hedge for a windbreak or used to stabilize sand dunes on low coastal terraces.

Image Caption: Needles and Cones of a Bishop pine (Pinus muricata). Credit: Evangele19/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)