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Pinus flexilis James
Limber Pine, Pino Enano
Pinaceae (Pine Family)
Synonym(s): Pinus flexilis ssp. alpina, Pinus flexilis ssp. callahanii, Pinus flexilis var. alpina, Pinus flexilis var. callahanii
USDA Symbol: PIFL2
USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)
This is a 30-60 ft., sometimes taller, pine with a short trunk and dark blue-green needles in clusters of five. Irregular branching and tapering limbs create a broad, flat-topped tree at maturity. It is pyramidal in youth. Medium-sized tree with short trunk and broad, rounded crown of annual rows of stout branches nearly down to ground; or a windswept, deformed shrub at timberline. Cones are long.
The names refer to the very tough and flexible twigs, which can sometimes be twisted into a knot. Plants on exposed ridges and at timberline are shaped by the wind into stunted shrubs with crooked or twisted branches that are bent over and are longer on one side. Birds and mammals, especially squirrels, consume the large seeds.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Leaf Arrangement: Fascicled
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Shape: Linear
Breeding System: Flowers Unisexual , Monoecious
Fruit Type: Cone
Size Notes: Up to about 85 feet tall.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Red , Green , Purple
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul , Aug
DistributionUSA: AZ , CA , CO , ID , MT , ND , NE , NM , NV , OR , SD , UT , WY
Canada: AB , BC
Native Distribution: Mts. from s.w. Alt. & s.e. B.C., s. to central Mex. through NM & e. CA; local in Black Hills region
Native Habitat: Exposed ridges from 7500-11,000 ft.
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry , Moist
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium
Soil Description: Well-drained, rocky soils.
Conditions Comments: This slow-growing tree has some disease and insect problems, but overall is a very hardy and adaptable tree.
PropagationDescription: Use stratified seed.
Seed Collection: Collect seeds in late summer and fall, just before the cones completely open to drop seeds. Avoid immature green cones. Spread cones in layers on drying racks; shade dried cones to release seeds.
Seed Treatment: Stratify for 21-90 days at 35-41 degrees.
Commercially Avail: yes
Find Seed or Plants
View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.
Web ReferenceWebref 3 - Flora of North America (2014) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Pinus flexilis in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Pinus flexilis in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Pinus flexilis
MetadataRecord Modified: 2022-09-21
Research By: TWC Staff