bristlecone pine (12643 bytes)

Bristlecone Pine:  Pinus aristata

By Joe Julian, Colorado State University Cooperative Extension agent, Natural Resources and Agriculture

If you're looking for an evergreen that would fit into a smaller landscape, a good choice would be the Bristlecone Pine (Pinus aristata). Bristlecones can grow up to 20 feet tall but rarely spread more than 10 feet wide. Their growth rate is considered slow but they do not require much water so would be a good choice for a naturalized area in a yard. Bristlecone pines are well known for surviving in harsh environments and living for many years without needing much care.

They are distinctive with their gnarled and twisted growth, sticky white resin on the needles (some people confuse the resin for pine needle scale), and dark green needles that are displayed in bundles of five.

bristlecone pine, white resin on needles(7079 bytes)     White resin on needles
bristlecone pine cone (27172 bytes) Female Flower Cones
pine,bristlecone bark (5151 bytes) Bark

There are other choices for evergreens in a naturalized area of the landscape but the Bristlecone Pine would certainly fit the description of specimen tree.

Photographs courtesy of Judy Sedbrook.

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Date last revised: 01/05/2010