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Wasowski, Sally and Andy
Pinus edulis Engelm.
Colorado pinyon pine, Pinyon pine, Two-needle pine, Colorado pinyon, Pinyon
Synonym(s): Pinus cembroides var. edulis
USDA Symbol: pied
USDA Native Status: L48 (N)
Two-needle pine or pinyon pine is a 10-30 ft., picturesque, gnarled evergreen with a compact, globose crown. Curving, dark-green needles occur in twos.
The edible seeds, known as pinyon nuts, Indian nuts, pine nuts, and pinones (Spanish), are a wild, commercial nut crop. Eaten raw, roasted, and in candies, they were once a staple food of southwestern Indians. Pinyon ranks first among the native nut trees of the United States that are not also cultivated. Every autumn, local residents, especially Navajo Indians and Spanish-Americans, harvest quantities for the local and gourmet markets. However, most of these oily seeds are promptly devoured by pinyon jays, wild turkeys, woodrats or packrats, bears, deer, and other wildlife. Small pinyons are popular Christmas trees. This species is the most common tree on the south rim of Grand Canyon National Park.
The species name edulis describes the edible large seeds.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Tree Leaf Retention: Evergreen Leaf Arrangement: Fascicled Leaf Complexity: Simple Leaf Shape:
Linear Breeding System:
, Monoecious Size Notes:
Conifer with a rounded or pyramidal shape. The trunk is short and the lower branches often wide spreading. Leaf:
Scales thick and fleshy when green, reddish brown later 1 - 1 1/2 inches long, slender, in clusters of 2-3, mostly threes Size Class:
12-36 ft. , 36-72 ft.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Apr , May
, WY Native Distribution:
w. through the foothills of the western mts. to s.w. WY Native Habitat:
Rocky mesas; dry, mountain slopes
Growing ConditionsWater Use:
Low Light Requirement:
Part Shade Soil Moisture:
Dry CaCO3 Tolerance:
Low Cold Tolerant:
Dry, rocky soils. Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Clay Conditions Comments:
This good accent tree
is drought- and cold-tolerant. It is very slow-growing and is usually found at elevations of 4,000-7,000 feet.
Sow fresh, untreated seed in late fall. Seed Collection:
Collect cones from vigorous trees in late summer and fall just before they completely open to drop seeds. Spread cones on racks to dry so they will release seeds. Cones may be shaken to release seeds. Store at a moisture content of 5-10 %
fresh weight. Commercially Avail:
Prune to maintain shape, Remove dead growth, Prevent complete soil dryness, Fertilize 3 times a year with lawn fertilizer 3:1:2 ratio
Record Last Modified: 2009-06-15
Research By: TWC Staff