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Pinus balfouriana

Pinus balfouriana
Foxtail Pine
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pinophyta
Class: Pinopsida
Order: Pinales
Family: Pinaceae
Genus: Pinus
Subgenus: Ducampopinus
Species: P. balfouriana
Binomial name
Pinus balfouriana
Natural range of Pinus balfouriana

Pinus balfouriana (foxtail pine) is a rare pine that is endemic to California, United States. The two disjunct populations are found in the Klamath Mountains (subspecies balfouriana) and the southern Sierra Nevada[2] (subspecies austrina). A small outlying population was reported in southern Oregon, but was proven to have been misidentified.[3]


  • Description 1
  • Distribution 2
  • Age 3
  • Related species 4
  • References 5
  • Further reading 6
  • External links 7


P. balfouriana is a tree to 10–20 m (33–66 ft) tall, exceptionally 35 m (115 ft), and up to 2 m (7 ft) in trunk diameter. Its leaves are needle-like, in bundles of five (or sometimes four, in the southern Sierra) with a semi-persistent basal sheath, and 2–4 cm (0.8–1.6 in) long, deep glossy green on the outer face, and white on the inner faces; they persist for 10–15 years. The cones are 6–11 cm (2 38 - 4 516 in) long, dark purple ripening red-brown, with soft, flexible scales each with a one millimetre central prickle.

A Foxtail Pine in the southern Sierra Nevada.


P. balfouriana occurs in the subalpine forest at an elevation of 1,950–2,750 m (6,400–9,020 ft) in the Klamath Mountains, and at 2,300–3,500 m (7,500–11,500 ft) in the Sierra Nevada. In the Sierra Nevada, Foxtail pines are limited to the area around Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. In both areas, it is often a tree line species.


It is thought that P. balfouriana can live up to 3000 years in the Sierra Nevada, although the highest currently proven age is 2110 years. In the Klamath Mountains, ages are only known to about 1000 years.

Related species

P. balfouriana is closely related to the bristlecone pines, being classified in the same subsection Balfourianae; it has been hybridised with the Great Basin Bristlecone Pine in cultivation, though no hybrids have ever been found in the wild.


  1. ^ Farjon, A. (2011). "Pinus balfouriana".  
  2. ^ Moore, Gerry; Kershner, Bruce; Craig Tufts; Daniel Mathews; Gil Nelson; Spellenberg, Richard; Thieret, John W.; Terry Purinton; Block, Andrew (2008). National Wildlife Federation Field Guide to Trees of North America. New York: Sterling. p. 83.  
  3. ^ Kauffmann, Michael E. (2012). Conifer Country. Kneeland, CA: Backcountry Press. ISBN 9780578094168.OCLC 798852130.

Further reading

  • 2006. Retrieved on 11 May 2006. IUCN. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2006. Pinus balfourianaKurut, Gary F. (2009), "Carl Eytel: Southern California Desert Artist", retrieved Nov. 13, 2011, Lanner, R.M. 2007 The Bristlecone Book, Ronald M Lanner, Mountain Press 2007 p. 14Conifer Specialist Group (1998). California State Library Foundation - , Bulletin No. 95, pp. 17-20Carl Eytel QK495.C75 C4, with illustrations by LCC  
  • Bailey, D. K. 1970. Phytogeography and taxonomy of Pinus subsection Balfourianae. Ann. Missouri Bot. Gard. 57: 210–249.
  • Mastrogiuseppe, R. J. & Mastrogiuseppe, J. D. 1980. A study of Pinus balfouriana Grev. & Balf. (Pinaceae). Systematic Botany 5: 86–104.
  • Richardson, D. M. (ed.). 1998. Ecology and Biogeography of Pinus. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. 530 p. ISBN 0-521-55176-5.

External links

  • (foxtail pine)Pinus balfourianaCalflora: Pinus balfouriana CalFlora Database:
  • Pinus balfourianaGymnosperm Database —
  • (foxtail pine)Pinus balfourianaUSDA Plants Profile for
  • USFS FEIS Introduction to Foxtail pines
  • photos of conesArboretum de Villardebelle —
  • Pinus balfourianaHigh Elevation White Pine Educational Website:
  • Foxtail Pines in Northwest California
  • — U.C. Photo galleryPinus balfouriana''
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