Ocote Pine, Pinus oocarpa

Ocote pine (Pinus oocarpa) is native to Mexico and Central America. This tree is also known as the Mexican yellow pine, hazelnut pine, pino Amarillo, and pino avellano. This pine is closely related to the pinus greggii and pinus patula.

This pine grows at altitudes of 3000-7000 feet above sea level while in El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua it grows at lower altitudes of 2600 feet. In poor soils, the tree will only grow between 32.8 and 49.2 feet tall and up to 39.3 feet in shallow soil and on ridge tops. The annual rainfall in this trees region is between 3.93 and 7.38 inches. This tree is a slow grower and does not hold up well to high winds. The open crown promotes weedy undergrowth, which increases the chances for wild fires. In perfect conditions, this tree can grow 65.6-114.8 feet tall with a trunk diameter of 29.53 inches. The bark is grey with thick scaly plates. The needles grow in bundles of five. The cones are short, stubby, oval shaped and grow in clusters of two or more in the northern Mexico region and clusters of 3-4 in the southern region.

The wood of the Ocote pine is whitish-yellow and is used primarily for pulpwood, fuel, and kindling. The wood is also used for pine furniture, plywood, construction lumber, packing boxes, soft drink boxes, broomstick handles, popsicle sticks, railroad ties, and posts. The trees are tapped for resin production, as well as for the making of turpentine.

Image Caption: Ocote pine (Pinus oocarpa) needles. Credit: Laurent Quéno/Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 3.0, 2.5, 2.0, 1.0)