Patula Pine, Pinus patula

Patula pine (Pinus patula) is native to the Highlands of Mexico and have been introduced to Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, Brazil, Madagascar, Southeast Asia, as well as southern and eastern Africa. The tree is considered invasive in Kenya and Uganda. This pine is also known as the Mexican weeping pine due to the long drooping needles. This pine is closely related to the Gregg pine also found growing in Mexico.

The Patula Pine grows at altitudes of 5906 – 8858 feet above sea level. It also grows in Ecuador at 11480 feet, Colombia is 9843 feet, and Hawaii at 9843 feet. This pine can grow from 98.43 feet to 131.2 feet tall with a trunk measurement of 3.93 feet around and usually has a straight trunk, occasionally growing two trunks, with a spreading crown. The bark of immature trees is a reddish-orange maturing to grey-brown and has ridges of bark growing vertically. The needles grow in bundles of 3, sometimes 4, and measure 5.9-9.8 inches long. The needles are pale green to yellowish-green and hang, or droop from the branches. The male cones grow in clusters and the female cone grows in whorls of two or more and point downward on the branches. The cones are reddish-brown, oval on the bottom and pointed on the tip. The seeds are dark brown and measure 0.196 inches long with a wing that measures 0.669 inches long.

The Patula pine does not tolerate temperatures below 14 degrees Fahrenheit for long periods and is somewhat drought-tolerant with rainfall levels totaling 2.46 – 6.56 feet per year.

The wood from the Patula pine is soft and brittle, is a pale-pink to salmon color, and is used for furniture making, making boards, as well as for paper and pulp production. The trees can be tapped for collecting the gum and resin used for making rosin and turpentine.  This tree is planted as an ornamental in parks in gardens in the United Kingdom.

Image Caption: Patula Pine, Pinus patula. Credit: Forest & Kim Starr/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)