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




Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


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:

Unknown - Tell us

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


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

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


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... read more


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.


On Aug 14, 2009, Xenomorf from Phoenix, 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... read more


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.


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.


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.