Limber pine

Silhouette - limber pine
  • Latin name: Pinus flexilis James
  • French name: Pin flexible
  • Synonym(s): Rocky Mountain white pine
  • Taxonomic Serial Number: 183343
Description

Leaves

  • Needle cross section - limber pine
  • Needle bundle - limber pine

Form

  • Needles evergreen
  • Remaining on tree for 5–6 years

Twigs

Form

  • Hairy, becoming smooth

Colour

  • Greenish-brown becoming grey

Seed cones (mature)

  • Cone scale outer surface (left), seed and cone scale inner surface with winged seed (center), cone scale profile (right) - limber pine

Form

  • Cylindrical to narrowly ovoid when closed
  • Very short-stalked
  • More or less at right angles to the stem

Length

  • 8–20 cm

Structure

  • 40–70 scales
  • Slightly thickened at the tips, spoon-shaped
  • Without a prickle, often with reflexed tips

Timing

  • Open on the tree at maturity to release the seeds
  • Cones shed during the winter

Seedlings

Form

  • 6–10 cotyledons, toothless

Length

  • 25–35 mm

Bark

Form

  • Smooth when young
  • With age becoming thick, rough, with wide scaly plates

Colour

  • Pale grey when young, with age becoming dark brown

Wood

Texture

  • Moderately soft, light

Colour

  • Heartwood yellow
  • Sapwood nearly white

Size

Height

  • To 12 m

Diameter

  • To 60 cm

Maximum age

  • Can live for several hundred years

Tree form

  • Silhouette - limber pine

Forest-grown

Trunk

  • On mature trees, short, thick
  • Markedly tapered
  • Usually crooked

Crown

  • Irregular, extending over most of the tree’s length
  • Young branches very tough, flexible, hence the name “limber” pine
  • Old branches tend to droop, tips upturned
  • Very old trees sometimes with lower branches longer than the height of the tree

Habitat

Site

  • Above 1000 m to the tree line
  • Occurs mainly as single trees or in small open groves on dry rocky exposed sites
  • Grows on a variety of soils
  • In southern Alberta, forms forest outliers on rocky outcrops along the edge of the prairie

Light tolerance

  • Full sun

Range

Southern British Columbia and Alberta

Insects and diseases

Insects and diseases that are found most frequently and/or that cause the most damage in our Canadian forests.

Photos
  • Limber pine
  • Limber pine
  • Limber pine
  • Limber pine
Distribution map
Distribution map - limber pine
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