Chihuahua White Pine, Pinus strobiformis
Chihuahua white pine (Pinus strobiformis) is found in the Sierra Madre Occidental Mountains in Northern Mexico as well as in southern Mexico through Chihuahua and Durango to Jalisco. This pine has also been found growing in the US in AZ, CO, NM, and TX. Other common names include Border pine and Southwestern White pine.
The Chihuahua white pine is a small to medium sized tree growing to heights of 50-80 feet with a height of 98 feet in perfect growing conditions. This tree likes to grow in well-drained sandy/loam soils mostly in high elevations on steep foothills or mountains. The Chihuahua pine is drought tolerant and shade intolerant, with some resistance to wind. The trunk diameter of this pine is between 30-60 inches wide with the bark being light grey when immature and maturing to a dark brown with deep grooves. The needles grow in bundles of five and measure 2.4-4 inches long. The cones measure 2.8-9.8 inches long with the wingless seeds measuring 0.4-0.5 inches long. Seeds are dependent upon birds to spread beyond the parent tree.
The wood from this tree is used for building furniture and doors in Mexico. The seeds are edible and can be eaten raw or cooked, or ground into a powder. Native Americans used the seed as it is rich in oils, is soft and has a slight resinous flavor.
Image Caption: Chihuahua white pine (Pinus strobiformis). Credit: Wikipedia (public domain)