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Pinus lambertiana

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About Sugar Pine (Pinus lambertiana) Pinus lambertiana (commonly known as the sugar pine or sugar cone pine) is the tallest and most massive pine tree, and has the longest cones of any conifer. It is native to the mountains of the Pacific coast of North America, from Oregon through California to Baja California. The sugar pine occurs in the mountains of Oregon and California in the western United States, and Baja California in northwestern Mexico; specifically the Cascade Range, Sierra Nevada, Coast Ranges, and Sierra San Pedro Martir. The sugar pine is the largest species of pine, commonly growing to 40-60 meters (130-200 ft) tall, exceptionally up to 82 m (269 ft) tall, with a trunk diameter of 1. 5-2. 5 m (4. 9-8. 2 ft), exceptionally 3. 5 m (11 ft). Pinus lambertiana is a member of the white pine group, Pinus subgenus Strobus, and like all members of that group, the leaves ('needles') are in bundles (fascicles) of five, with a deciduous sheath. They are 6-11 cm (2. 4-4. 3 in)ch) long. Sugar pine is notable for having the longest cones of any conifer, mostly 25-50 cm (9. 8-19. 7 in) long, exceptionally up to 66 cm (26 in) long (although the cones of the Coulter pine are more massive). The seeds are 10-12 mm (0. 39-0. 47 in) long, with a 2-3 cm (0. 79-1. 18 in) long wing that aids wind dispersal. The seeds of the sugar pine are also a type of pine nut and are edible.
Plant Description
Plant Type

Max. Height
40 - 230 ft (12.2 - 70.1 m)


Growth Rate

Winter Deciduous

Flower Color

Flowering Season

Native Status

Natural Setting
Site Type

Sun, Part Shade

Elevation ?
26' - 13935'

Annual Precip. ?
9.7" - 155.6"

Summer Precip. ?
0.25" - 5.84"

Coldest Month ?
11.6° F - 54.1° F

Hottest Month ?
34.8° F - 79.3° F

Humidity ?
0.34 vpd - 25.81 vpd

Soil Description
Prefers sandy or loamy soils. Does not grow well in clay soils.

Fast, Medium, Slow

Sunset Zones ?
1, 2, 3, 4*, 5*, 6*, 7, 15*, 16, 17

Landscaping Information
Ease of Care
Moderately Easy

Water Requirement ?
Extremely Low
Very Low
Moderate - High

Prune in winter when wood boring insects are less active.

Propagation ?
For propagating by seed: 2-3 mos. stratification (USDA Forest Service 1974).

Common uses
Bank Stabilization, Bird Gardens

Nursery Availability
Commonly Available

Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora

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