Coulter Pine, Big Cone Pine

Pinus coulteri

Family: Pinaceae (py-NAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Pinus (PY-nus) (Info)
Species: coulteri (kol-TER-ee-eye) (Info)




Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


over 40 ft. (12 m)


20-30 ft. (6-9 m)


USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun


Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling

Bloom Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Unknown - Tell us



Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:

Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse

From seed; stratify if sowing indoors

Seed Collecting:

Unknown - Tell us


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

Chico, California

Lake Arrowhead, California

Sacramento, California

San Diego, California

Yucca Valley, California

Prior Lake, Minnesota

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Aug 12, 2006, Fomhoire from Sacramento, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

Easy to start from seed. Rapid growth for a California native pine. I planted five one-year old saplings in coarse sandy soil in Fresno, CA. All five have managed to survive 10 years in Fresno's hot summers on the 11" of annual precipitation without summer irrigation.


On Nov 2, 2004, WalterT from San Diego, CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

Widowmaker indeed! The cones are large, hard and heavy, so I advise never to stand, sit or lie under one of these trees unless you can see all the cones and they are green. One of those babies dropping on you from any height (and the trees grow very tall) could really cause some damage. WalterT


On Nov 1, 2004, FullertonCA from Lake Arrowhead, CA wrote:

This is a beautiful pine tree. Locals say it is also known as the "widow maker," due to its pineapple-size pinecones.

Unfortunately, tens of thousands of Coulters, along with a million other pine trees have died in the San Bernardino mountains of Southern California (Big Bear Lake and Lake Arrowhead). We've been told that the drought and western bark beetle are to blame. I love this pine, but would hesitate to replant it.


On Apr 23, 2004, shawnkilpatrick from Yucca Valley, CA wrote:

As you can see from the picture, this 5-gallon Coulter Pine was not in the best shape when I planted it in Yucca Valley (11-02.) Finding Coulter pines among nursery stock is a challenge! By April 23, 2004, this plant has grown nicely and with a much darker green color. The soil in Yucca Valley is alkaline and dreadfully hard. I planted this tree in an area where California Junipers used to grow, with some compost added in the backfill. It is going to be fine focal point of my front yard in a few more years!


On Mar 30, 2004, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

Native pine to Southern California - has some great big pinecones!