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PlantFiles: Bristlecone Pine, Foxtail Pine, Hickory Pine
Pinus aristata

Family: Pinaceae (py-NAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Pinus (PY-nus) (Info)
Species: aristata (a-ris-TAH-tuh) (Info)

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5 members have or want this plant for trade.

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Alpines and Rock Gardens

8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)
10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)
12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)
15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)

10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)
12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
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)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade
Light Shade

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:
Pale Green

Bloom Time:
Late Winter/Early Spring
Mid Spring

Grown for foliage

Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Provides winter interest
Suitable for growing in containers

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
From seed; sow indoors before last frost
From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

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There are a total of 15 photos.
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1 positive
3 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Neutral Rickwebb On Jan 30, 2014, Rickwebb from Downingtown, PA wrote:

A few of this western soft pine are sold at larger nurseries in the Midwest as small plants about 1 to 3 feet high. I planted one small plant in an island bed circle surrounded by road at a hospital's entrance in ne Illinois. It lived several years and looked cute, but it probably died from road salt.

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

This is a native species to my area in northern Arizona, but only in the highest reaches of the San Francisco peaks wilderness area close to the treeline (approx 11,500 feet). It's extremely hardy to cold, adverse conditions and can thrive in poor rocky soils. So far, the two I have in my yard at 5,600 feet are growing just fine, they are extremely slow growers though, but do make stunning centerpieces for a yard with their tightly packed, resin dotted needles.

Neutral Xenomorf On Aug 13, 2009, Xenomorf from Valley of the Sun, AZ (Zone 9b) wrote:

This Pine tree has been known to grow as high as 40 ft. and have a 2.5 ft wide trunk. The bark on the young trees is smooth and off-whitish, wilst on the older trees the bark is fissured, scaly and reddish brown. The purplish-brown cones hang from the branch instead of standing up on the branch. The scales on the cones are equipped with a quarter inch, incurved and stiff prickle on the tips. The dark green and curved needles are about 1.5" long, bunched in a bundle of five and form a crowded bush-like bundle on the ends of the branches. They can stay on the tree for about 30 years before they are dropped. This pine occures in nature in Spruce-fir forests up to the timberline at about 9500-12,000 ft. elevation but is found only on the San Fransisco Peaks in Arizona, but is also native to Colorado and New Mexico. At the timberline it looks like a twisted, bushy shrub. Though sometimes not reported as being in California, some of these trees in CA are over 4,000 years old. Some of the ones on the San Fransisco peaks in Arizona were dated by the tree ring method as being over 1400 years old.

Neutral berrygirl On Mar 15, 2007, berrygirl from Braselton, GA (Zone 7b) wrote:

Sometimes called Hickory Pine or Foxtail Pine. This pine rarely grows over 20 feet. This tree is a dwarf, growing very slowly; 1 to 2 inches per year. A 16 year old plant being only 4 feet tall. Its dark bluish green needles, 5 in a bundle, are usually less than 1 inches long. It is picturesque, due to its dwarfed, rather twisted growth habit. It grows largest in Arizona, occasionally reaching 50 feet. Some specimens in Arizona have been estimated to be 4,000 years old. Does well in all climates and most soils, and all elevations from sea level to 12,000 feet. Holds needles for 20 years. Likes ordinary to poor soil, good drainage. A unique specimen in a garden or island planting. EXCELLENT BONSAI SUBJECT. Zone: 4-7. Height: 20 Feet.

(from Musser Forests catalog)


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

Prescott, Arizona
Yarnell, Arizona
Hinsdale, Illinois
Cleveland, Ohio
Luzerne, Pennsylvania
Orem, Utah
Highland, Washington

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