Jeffrey Pine, Pinus jeffreyi

Jeffrey pine (Pinus jeffreyi) grows in California, Nevada, and Oregon. This tree is named after botanist document, John Jeffrey. This tree is also known as the black pine. The Jeffrey pine is often confused with the Ponderosa pine.

Jeffrey pine grows in high altitudes of 4900-6900 feet in the northern part of its region and 5900-9500 feet in the southern range. The trees grow primarily from southwest Oregon, through much of California, south to the northern border of Mexico. The range of growth for this tree is determined by the elevation and climate within the range. The Jeffrey pine can grow in all types of soils from the moist soils found in the high mountain meadows to the arid slopes that border deserts.  The Jeffrey pine is the dominant pine where the soil is the poorest. This pine is drought resistant and does well in colder climates.

The Jeffrey pine is a large tree growing to heights of 82-130 (130 feet in the perfect conditions) feet tall. This pine can live 400-500 years and achieve a trunk diameter of 4-6 feet.  The bark of this pine has thick furrows creating a crisscross pattern forming scaly plates of bark. The bark is yellow-brown to cinnamon in color and while it is growing, it has the distinct odor of pineapple, apple, butterscotch, lemon and vanilla. The needles are a green to grayish-blue, grow in bundles of three, and measure 4.7-9.1 inches long. Female cones are light red-brown when mature and measure 5.9-11.81 inches across at the base when open. The cones mature in two years and dies shortly after shedding the seeds. The male cones are yellow to dark purple when young and ripen to yellow to purple-brown and measure 0.78-1.37 inches long. The seeds measure 0.39-.047 inches long with a wing of 0.59-0.98 inches long.

The Jeffrey pine and the ponderosa pine are often times confused with some disastrous results. The turpentine made from the resin extracted from the Jeffrey pine contains a high content of n-heptane, which is a highly flammable hydrocarbon, making it explode when ignited.

The Jeffrey pine can be found growing in parks and gardens as ornamental trees in mild climates.

Image Caption: Jeffrey pine (Pinus jeffreyi). Credit: Jhodlof/Wikipedia (public domain)