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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Alpines and Rock Gardens



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Suitable for growing in containers


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


Provides winter interest

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

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


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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Gardeners' Notes:


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.


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.


On Aug 13, 2009, Xenomorf from Phoenix, 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 C... read more


On Mar 15, 2007, berrygirl from Braselton, GA (Zone 8a) 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)