Chihuahua Pine, Pinus leiophylla

Chihuahua pine (Pinus leiophylla) grows in Mexico along the Sierra Madre Occidental and Sierra Madre del Sur from Chihuahua to Oaxaca. This tree can also be found growing in the United States in southeast Arizona, southwest New Mexico, Durango, CO,  as well as South Africa and Australia. Commercial plantings can be found in the higher elevations of Kenya, Malawi, Zimbabwe, and Zambia.

The Chihuahua pine grows in high elevations from 5249 feet to 9843 feet. This pine requires 23.6-39.3 inches of rain per year and can tolerate winter frosts. This pine grows between 65.6 and 98.4 feet tall with a trunk measuring 13.7-31.5 inches in diameter.  The bark is a gray-brown with deep grooves. The needles are bright green to yellowish-green and glossy, grow in bundles of three, sometimes five, measuring 1.9-3.9 inches long. The cone is oval measuring 1.5-2.7 inches long. The cones take an unusual long time to mature, about 30-32 months.

The Chihuahua pine has adapted to the destruction of wildfires, as well as the Pitch Pine and the Canary Island Pine, by growing new branches and forming new crowns. Uses for the wood from the Chihuahua pine include construction, firewood, and railroad ties as it is a very strong and dense wood.

Image Caption: Chihuahua pine (Pinus leiophylla). Credit: cibomahto/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 2.0)