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Monterey Pine
Pinus radiata
About Monterey Pine (Pinus radiata) Nurseries Show All Photos Pinus radiata, commonly known as Monterey pine, insignis pine or radiata pine, is a coniferous evergreen tree growing to between 15 - 30 m (49 - 98 ft) in height in the wild, but up to 60 m (200 ft) in cultivation in optimum conditions, with upward pointing branches and a rounded top. The leaves ('needles') are bright green, in clusters of three (two in var. binata), slender, 8 - 15 cm (3.1 - in) long and with a blunt tip. The cones are 7 - 17 cm (2.8 - 6.7 in) long, brown, ovoid (egg-shaped), and usually set asymmetrically on a branch, attached at an oblique angle. The bark is fissured and dark grey to brown. It is adapted to cope with stand-killing fire disturbance. Its cones are serotinous, i.e. they remain closed until opened by the heat of a forest fire; the abundant seeds are then discharged to regenerate on the burned forest floor. The cones may also burst open in hot weather.

It is native to three very limited areas located in Santa Cruz, Monterey Peninsula, and San Luis Obispo Counties in California, and also to Guadalupe and Cedros Islands in Mexico. Although Pinus radiata is extensively cultivated around the world for lumber, the version of the tree used in the lumber industry is vastly different from the native tree of Monterey. In its natural state, Monterey pine is a rare and endangered tree, and is twisted, knotty and full of sap/resin and not suitable for lumber.

In its native range, Monterey pine is associated with a characteristic flora and fauna. It is the co-dominant canopy tree together with Cupressus macrocarpa which naturally occurs only in coastal Monterey County Furthermore, one of the pine forests in Monterey, California, was the discovery site for Hickman's potentilla, an endangered species. Piperia yadonii, a rare species of orchid is endemic to the same pine forest adjacent to Pebble Beach. In its native range, Monterey Pine is a principal host for the dwarf mistletoe Arceuthobium littorum. A remnant Monterey pine stand in Pacific Grove is a prime wintering habitat of the monarch butterfly.

Grow this plant only along the coast well within the coastal fog bank. In inland areas, It will grow fast if given water, but typically die after around 5 years.
Plant Description
Plant Type

Max. Height
49.2 - 196.9 ft (15 - 60 m)

Max. Width
15 - 30 ft (4.6 - 9.1 m)

Upright, Pyramidal, Rounded, Upright Columnar

Fragrant - Pleasant

Growth Rate


Flower Color
Yellow, Brown, Cream

Flowering Season

Native Status
Natural Setting
Site Type
Coastal bluffs and dunes, in the coastal fog belt

Sun, Part Shade

Elevation ?
7' - 3288'

Annual Precip. ?
12.4" - 81.3"

Summer Precip. ?
0.15" - 1.60"

Coldest Month ?
42.3° F - 56.4° F

Hottest Month ?
58.2° F - 72.4° F

Humidity ?
0.01 vpd - 18.81 vpd

Soil Description
Prefers sand or sandstone

Soil PH
4 - 7


Cold Tolerance(° F)
Tolerates cold to 10 - 20° F

Landscaping Information
Ease of Care
Very Easy

Water Requirement ?
Very Low
Extremely Low
Very Low
Moderate - High

Seldom Used

Max. Summer Water ?
No Summer Water, 1x/month, 2x/month
No Summer Water
Keep moist

Organic with Rocks

Prune in winter when wood boring insects are less active.

Pest Control
90% of the trees in wild stands in Monterey Country are infected with pine pitch canker, caused by caused by Fusarium circinatum, a fungal disease.

Propagation ?
For propagating by seed: Fresh seeds need no treatment; 1wk. stratification may improve germination. Stored seeds 1-3 wks. stratification may improve germination (USDA Forest Service 1974).

Common uses
Bank Stabilization, Bird Gardens, Butterfly Gardens

Nursery Availability
Commonly Available

Other Names
Common Names
Insignis Pine, Pino Quebradizo

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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