Leaves are needle like, in bundles of 3 (there is a botanical variety with 2 or 3 needles P. ponderosa scopulorum) 6-8" long, light to medium green color and very sharp pointed. Needles tend to be restricted to the ends of the branches as they only last 3 years. They are also somewhat droopy on the branch.
Misidentification: Always look at the needle number first, these have 3.
Jeffery pine for one,
Other 3 needle pines in our area:
P. attenuata, Knobcone Pine is native to the northern county and can be seen in UCSC wild areas. Cones are very different, in large clusters on the main stems and held for years.
P. canariensis, much longer softer needles, longer cones, much fuller habit but more or less the same overall shape but way full.
P. coulteri, longer bluer leaves, more stiff and dont seem to droop on the stems, not as restricted to the ends of the branches as they last 3-4 years. Much broader habit. There are some around.
P. jefferyi, the cones are different in that the prickle on the scale is curved inward and will not stick you and you will not likely see one in SC.
P. radiata, covered earlier, dark green leaves, shorter and softer.
Location: Several nice places,
From the road you can see them on:
Highway 17 between Granite Creek Rd and Mt Herman Exits on the north side,
Highway 1 to the east, lining the area below Cabrillo College
Graham Hill Rd just past Quarry Rd on your way to Ben Lomond on the right is a beautiful one.
Mt Herman Rd as it leaves Scotts Valley area and heads into the Sand Hills area.
Scotts Valley has a great collection, there is a nice big one on the corner of SV Drive and Bean Creek Rd.
In town, you can see one that was supposed to be a P. pinea so its planted with other Italian Stone pines, on Mar Vista Dr in Soquel outside the Seacliff Adult mobile homes on your left.