Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Pinus muricata - Bishop Pine

Pinus muricata: Pinus is the Latin name for pine; muricata, Latin meaning like a murex, which is the genus of marine gastropods having rough spiny shells, so named for the cone's sharp, prickly scales.

Evergreen. Native to the California Coastal Ranges, Santa Cruz Island, and Baja California, usually in mild, foggy coastal areas on terrain that includes seaside bluffs and headlands, infertile granitic ridges, and old marine terraces with highly acidic soils.

The Bishop Pine can take on a dense, rounded canopy to a sparse, wind-swept look with a bowed or straight trunk. Moderate to fast growh up to 40-75' fall and 20-40' wide.

Stiff 2-fascicled needles 4-6" long are green in the south, and blue-green from Sea Ranch to Trinidad and are tightly clustered at branch ends.

Egg-shaped closed cones measure up to 4" long with strongly prickles scales. Depending on their age, they can be reddish brown to weathered gray and are usually tightly closed and held on branches in whorls.

Bark is gray-brown to almost black in mature trees. Rough, scaly ridges are separated by fissures.

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