Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Rocky Mountain Pinyon Pine, Two-Needle Pinon Pine, Nut Pine
Pinus edulis

Family: Pinaceae (py-NAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Pinus (PY-nus) (Info)
Species: edulis (ED-yew-liss) (Info)

Synonym:Pinus cembroides var. edulis

3 vendors have this plant for sale.

6 members have or want this plant for trade.


20-30 ft. (6-9 m)
30-40 ft. (9-12 m)
over 40 ft. (12 m)

15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)
20-30 ft. (6-9 m)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:
Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:
Unknown - Tell us


Other details:
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Soil pH requirements:
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)
7.9 to 8.5 (alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
Unknown - Tell us

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

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There are a total of 22 photos.
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5 positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive NambeBent On Apr 8, 2012, NambeBent from Chupadero, NM wrote:

I have a dozen of these two-needle pinyon on my five acres which are in the Nambe Badlands (NM) just north of the much wetter traditional village. 6 are at about 6,000 feet. 6 are at about 6,200 feet atop a barranca. All have grown up from naturally planted (pinyon jays?) seed since all of the earlier pinyons were killed by the bark beetles.

All six of the lower ones have grown up in partial afternoon shade of the barranca or an arroyo. In addition, one has grown inside a juniper. It is almost three times the height of the others. It is also the only one to have cones.

(Noted: authoritative sources say that a pinyon has to be 25 years old to have seeds Could a short (six feet at most) 20 year old tree have escaped my attention six years ago? There are mature ponderosa in the village. Conceivably, a ponderosa seed thrived inside the juniper? I will try to find a picture of the tree and post it. I already posted a photo of one of the smaller trees.)

Some of those atop the barranca have less shade -- but again they are all about a third the size of pinyon inside the juniper and without cones.

Maybe, we should conclude that the pinyons benefit from partial shade -- perhaps the partial shade prevents the ground from being baked dry by the sun. It is unusually sunny here -- in other places the clouds may provide sufficient shade.

I have given them no help except to pile rocks to slow down the flow of rain water and thus cause more to soak in -- if necessary digging out accumulated dirt from behind the rocks so as not to cover the roots.

Any suggestions are welcomed.

Positive SleepyFox On Jan 13, 2010, SleepyFox from Prescott, AZ (Zone 7a) wrote:

Grows Native here in northern Arizona. The Pinyon pine is extremely hardy, slow growing pine that can take intense heat, cold, and is an extremely drought tolerant species. It's ideal for xeriscaping, but can also grow just fine in less arid regions if it is left away from an area that floods. If you have an old enough tree (25+ Years) with other pinyons around for pollination, they will produce cones that bear pinyon nut crops every few years.

Neutral Xenomorf On Aug 14, 2009, Xenomorf from Valley of the Sun, AZ (Zone 9b) wrote:

This slow growing, compact pine tree has been known to reach 35 ft. high with a trunk 30" in diameter. The gray to reddish brown bark is furrowed with scaley ridges. The thick egg-shaped cones are light brown to a yellowish brown and has blunt scales up to 2" long. The dark green needles are curved slightly and come bunched two together, they are about 2" long. You will find this tree growing in nature in the range of 4000-7000 ft. elevation on lower mountain slopes, plateaus and mesas. The crown is rounded and it often has a crooked trunk. The edible, oily and large seeds are about 1/2" long and known as 'pinones', 'pine nuts', 'Indian nuts', 'Christmas nuts' & 'pinyon nuts', harvested for commercial purposes raw and cooked for use in candies. The wild animals also eat them, mostly pinyon jays, wild turkeys and mammals. This pine is able to stand up to drought the best of all the other pines endemic to Arizona. The wood is used alot for feul and fence posts. Amongst other places in Arizona and other states that this tree is native to, you will be able to find them near the Sunset Crater National Monument. This pinon pine is identifyable by having a bundle of two needles, while the Pinus discolor (Mexican Pinon) has 3 needles in a bundle and the Pinus monophylla (Singleleaf Pinon) has only singular needles (none bundled). Endemic to AZ, CA, CO, NM, NV, OK, TX, UT, WY in the USA.

Positive peachespickett On Mar 18, 2008, peachespickett from Huntington, AR wrote:

Have been growing a pinus edulis in desert bed here in Western Arkansas for a few years now, has handled the humidity and constant winter rain perfectly, grows slowly but beautiful at any age.

Positive pajaritomt On May 25, 2006, pajaritomt from Los Alamos, NM (Zone 5a) wrote:

The pinon pine ( pronounced pinyon pine) is the state tree of New Mexico. When burned in the fireplace, the smoke has a sweet perfumy fragrance that is unforgetable. It is a small slow-growing tree (15 to 30 ft, at maturity). Currently pinon trees in the Southwest are very much endangered by the current harsh drought there. The drought makes them suceptible to borers and huge numbers have died in the past two or three years. It is important for humans to protect pinons as much as possible while this drought is threatening them.

Positive Terry On Dec 11, 2002, Terry from Murfreesboro, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

These trees which grow in arid foothills and plains from Texas to Wyoming produce edible Pine Nuts (or pinon nuts as we called them) similar to the European pine nuts widely available now.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Prescott, Arizona
Sedona, Arizona
Huntington, Arkansas
Boulder, Colorado
Trinidad, Colorado
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Bernalillo, New Mexico
Los Alamos, New Mexico
Santa Fe, New Mexico (2 reports)
Orem, Utah

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