limber pine Pinaceae Pinus
flexilis James symbol: PIFL2
Leaf: Evergreen needles, 2 1/2 to 4 inches long, fascicles of 5, dark green and rigid with lengthwise rows of stomatal bloom. Remain on tree for 5 to 6 years.
Flower: Species is monoecious; male cones are small and reddish; female cones are bright reddish-purple.
Fruit: Moderate sized woody cone (3 to 6 inches long) with a short stalk. Imbricate scales are thick, blunt, slightly reflexed, and unarmed. Cones turn from green to brown as they ripen and scales open to release their seeds (unlike whitebark pine). Seeds are large and usually wingless.
Twig: Stout but very flexible (can be tied into knots), silvery-white to gray, droop with age, but tips often turn up.
Bark: Initially thin, smooth and gray-white; later it darkens to brown or black with deep fissures and square plates.
Form: Typically small (30 to 50 feet tall and 1 to 3 feet in diameter) and contorted by the wind and harsh growing conditions. Often has multiple, plume-like tops with drooping branches.
Looks like: southwestern white pine - whitebark pine - western white pine - sugar pine
Additional Range Information: Pinus flexilis is native to North America. Range may be expanded by planting. See states reporting limber pine.
External Links: USDAFS Silvics of North America - USDAFS Additional Silvics - USDA Plants Database - Horticulture Information - USDAFS Forest Products Lab
All material © 2018 Virginia Tech Dept. of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation; Photos and text by: John Seiler, Edward Jensen, Alex Niemiera, and John Peterson; Silvics reprinted from Ag Handbook 654