Torrey Pine, Pinus torreyana

Torrey pine (Pinus torreyana) is found only in California in the county of San Diego with one of the Channel Islands. This pine is the rarest and is considered endangered with only about 7000 trees in San Diego and 2000 left on the island of Santa Rosa.

The Torrey pine grows from 200-500 feet above sea level and grows to heights of 26-49 feet tall with trunk diameters between one and two feet. The trunk of this tree can be straight, crooked, and often leaning due to the prevailing winds. This pine is a slow grower in the wild, and grows in dry, sandy soil. The bark is dark gray to black with deep fissures creating flat, scaly ridges. The needles are dark green in color; grow in bundles of five and measure 9.8-12 inches long. Male cones grow on the bottom branches, are yellow and measure 0.78-1.18 inches long. Female cones grow in the top, are reddish in color, and measure four – six inches long when open. The cones contain the edible pine nut. The seeds measure 0.62-0.94 inches long with a wingspan of 0.59 inches.

The Torrey pine is planted as  ornamental trees, with better soil and with controlled watering, it lends to being a fast growing tree to heights of 148 feet. This pine is drought tolerant as the tap roots can go as deep as 200 feet to find moisture. The tree is also shade tolerant.

Image Caption: Torrey pine (Pinus torreyana). Credit: en:User:Geographer/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 2.5)