Shrubs or trees to 21m; trunk to 0.6m diam., strongly tapering, erect; crown conic, rounded, dense. Bark red-brown, shallowly and irregularly furrowed, ridges scaly, rounded. Branches persistent to near trunk base; twigs pale red-brown to tan, rarely glaucous, aging gray-brown to gray, glabrous to papillose-puberulent. Buds ovoid to ellipsoid, red-brown, 0.5--1cm, resinous. Leaves (1--)2(--3) per fascicle, upcurved, persisting 4--6 years, 2--4cm ´ (0.9--)1--1.5mm, connivent, 2-sided (1-leaved fascicles with leaves 2-grooved, 3-leaved fascicles with leaves 3-sided), blue-green, all surfaces marked with pale stomatal bands, particularly the adaxial, margins entire or finely serrulate, apex narrowly acute to subulate; sheath 0.5--0.7cm, scales soon recurved, forming rosette, shed early. Pollen cones ellipsoid, ca. 7mm, yellowish to red-brown. Seed cones maturing in 2 years, shedding seeds and falling soon thereafter, spreading, symmetric, ovoid before opening, depressed-ovoid to nearly globose when open, ca. (3.5--)4(--5)cm, pale yellow- to pale red-brown, resinous, nearly sessile to short-stalked; apophyses thickened, raised, angulate; umbo subcentral, slightly raised or depressed, truncate or umbilicate. Seeds mostly ellipsoid to obovoid; body 10--15mm, brown, wingless. 2 n =24.
Dry mountain slopes, mesas, plateaus, and pinyon-juniper woodland; 1500--2100(--2700)m; Ariz., Calif., Colo., N.Mex., Okla., Tex., Utah, Wyo.; Mexico in Chihuahua.
Pinus edulis var. fallax Little ( P . californiarum subsp. fallax (Little) D.K.Bailey) appears to combine features of P . edulis and P . monophylla . More study is needed.
Seeds of Pinus edulis , the commonest southwestern United States pinyon, are much eaten and traded by Native Americans.
Pinyon ( Pinus edulis ) is the state tree of New Mexico.
Perry 1991, FNA 1993, Kearney and Peebles 1969, Heil et al. 2013
Common Name: twoneedle pinyon Duration: Perennial Nativity: Native Lifeform: Tree General: Small trees or large shrubs to 15 m tall but usually shorter; trunk to 60 cm in diameter, short and branching close to the ground; crown dense and compact, conic when young and becoming rounded and irregular with age; bark grayish to reddish brown, irregularly and shallowly furrowed. Needles: In sheathed clusters (fascicles) of 2 needles, rarely 1 or 3, sharp-pointed and often upcurved, 2-4 cm long and 1-1.5 mm thick, grayish blue-green, persisting 4-6 years; sheaths thin, 5-7 mm long, recurved into a rosette and deciduous. Cones: Ovoid and resinous before opening; mature, open cones are 3-5 cm long and 3-6 cm wide, reddish-orange, with thick blunt scales up to 12 mm wide; cones mature in 2 years, shedding their seeds before falling off the tree at the end of the second growing season. Seeds: Brown, 10-13 mm long, mostly ellipsoid to obovoid, wingless. Ecology: Found on dry slopes and flats, from 5,000-7,000 ft (1524-2134 m). Distribution: w OK to WY and UT, south to TX, NM, AZ, and n MEX. Notes: Characterized by having 2 needles per sheath (fascicle), this is the common pinyon pine of the four-corners region, the best known of the pine-nut producing species, and the state tree of New Mexico. Its range overlaps P. cembroides (a pinyon pine with 3 needles per fascicle) in southeastern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico, and P. monophylla (with 1 needle per fascicle) from southeastern California to southwestern Utah. Hybrids do occur. The regional drought and bark beetle infestation of 2002-2003 caused a massive die-off of this species. Ethnobotany: The pitch was used on sores and cuts and used as an emetic; the needles were burned and the smoke inhaled for colds; a tea of the leaves was used as an expectorant and a tuberculosis remedy; needles were burned for purification; the plant was used widely for ceremonially purposes; and the nuts are a fine source of food and are actively harvested and traded in the present day. Etymology: Pinus is the classical Latin name for pine trees; edulis means edible. Synonyms: Pinus cembroides var. edulis Editor: SBuckley 2010, AHazelton 2017