Piñon Pine = Pinus edulis
Mexican Piñon = Pinus cembroides
Singleleaf Piñon = Pinus monophylla
Parry Piñon = Pinus quadrifolia
Description: All four species are small bushy evergreen trees with short trunk, horizontal branching and rounded crowns. Found in semi-arid regions of the west. Sometimes called Mexican Nut Pine, it is native to both Arizona and New Mexico, where the seeds are harvested and sold as nuts, although the tree does not bear cones and nuts every year. Once a staple food of southwestern Indigenous Peoples,
Piñon ranks first among the native nut trees of the United States that are not also cultivated. In autumn, pine nuts are harvested by local residents for local and gourmet markets. It occurs in mixed or pure stands of woodland in foothills, mesas or canyons, & often on dry, rocky ridges. It does well in cultivation, a wide variety of soil and moisture conditions, is winter-hardy, slow-growing, and very long-lived.
There is presently a major die off of Piñon Pines, which is the result of overgrazed plants leaving bare soil around the Piñons. This makes it more difficult for the trees to find adequate water and nutrients. This weakened the trees making them susceptible to various pests and diseases. In a lawn/urban environment where there is irrigation and they are well mulched, they should do just fine.
Needles: 1/2 to 1 inch long, and grow singly on Singleleaf Piñon, in pairs on Piñon and Mexican Piñon, in fours on the Parry Piñon. Needles have smooth margins, except for Mexican Piñon which has finely toothed edges.
Cones: 1 1/2 to 2 inches long, irregular roundish shape
Fruit: Large edible seeds; reddish to yellow-brown, oval to globular, 1-3 inches long, scales thick, resinous, seed diversely shaped, 1/2 to 1 3/4 inches long, oily, brown to black.
Height: 20 to 35 feet tall
Elevation: 4000 to 9000 feet.
Water Requirements: 12 inches precipitation equivalent, drought-tolerant, will not tolerate high water table and prefers good drainage. Once established, only requires a deep watering once a month.
Soils: Dry, rocky, gravelly soils. Adapted to a wide range of soils and moisture conditions.
Wildlife: Piñon jays, wild turkeys, squirrels, dears, and bears are among the animals attracted to its seeds
Pests: When weak and unhealthy, it is susceptible to Piñon Needle Scale and Bark Beetles
Uses: Windbreaks, food and cover for man, wildlife food and habitat, Piñon pine is suitable for ornamental and recreational plantings. It is useful as a screening element, especially beautiful and ornamental in landscaping.