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Pinus sabiniana (California foothill pine)
Reveal, James L.

Pinus sabiniana

Pinus sabiniana Douglas ex Douglas

California Foothill Pine, Digger Pine

Pinaceae (Pine Family)


USDA Symbol: pisa2

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

Digger pine is an open, airy conifer with a divided trunk and a sparsely leaved crown. It grows to 45 ft. in 15 years and can attain 75 ft. in 200 yrs. The ridged and scaly bark is dark brown, often tinged purple. The foliage is gray-green and lacy. Tree with crooked, forking trunk and branches; open, very thin, irregular, broad, or rounded crown; and very large, heavy cones.

The soft, lightweight wood of this common and widespread pine is not durable; the crooked, forking trunks also make the wood impractical to use except as fuel. The former common name refers to the "Digger" Indians (a pioneer term grouping all California Indian tribes together, based on their practice of digging for foods such as bulbs and roots).


From the Image Gallery

29 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Tree
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 75 feet tall.
Leaf: Green

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr


Native Distribution: Hills bordering Central Valley & inner Coast Ranges, CA
Native Habitat: Dry slopes & ridges below 4500 ft.

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium
Soil Description: Dry soils.
Conditions Comments: Digger pine is very drought tolerant. Its open structure gives light shade and if the bottom branches are pruned off, it is gardenable underneath.


Description: Propagate by seed.
Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Santa Barbara Botanic Garden - Santa Barbara, CA

Web Reference

Webref 3 - Flora of North America (2014) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.

Additional resources

USDA: Find Pinus sabiniana in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Pinus sabiniana in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Pinus sabiniana


Record Modified: 2022-09-23
Research By: TWC Staff

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