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Sunday, March 25, 2012

Pinus torryeana - Torrey Pine

The Torrey Pine is a large native evergreen conifer, growing slowly up to 60 tall and almost as wide. The trees have a nice broad conical habit with strong stout upright primary lateral branches. They have a distinctly  bluish cast to the canopy. The Torrey pine is extremely variable in its native habit. Being so close to the coast it might take on a "picturesque" habit.

This native conifer is also very restricted tree in the "wild" and only found natively growing in a very small area in San Diego County and a few islands off the coast. But like others trees from somewhere else, it grows and reseeds nicely here and grows fast in cultivation. There are lots of seedlings in and around Sea Cliff State Park. This image is at the park over looking the ocean.



The evergreen leaves are in 5's, gray-green color, 5-12" long, stout and prickly at the tips. Generally clustered at the tips of stout branches. Persisting 3-4 years.



Cones are oval, dark reddish brown, 4-5" long and almost as wide. They can be very heavy. Takes 3 years to mature. Scales are strongly 4 sided with a prominent recurving spine. Seeds are edible. Cone falls leaving some of the scales behind. This image shows young cones that will be developing later in the season.



These are recently maturing and have not turned brown yet.



Male cones are 1 - 2" long when open, yellow and in clusters at the tips of lower branches



Stout, rough twigs and often sort of a light gray color looking like they have a waxy coating on them.  Short but persistent leaf sheaths.



Bark is gray scaly ridges showing red-brown between the furrows.  It forms rectangular plates.


Misidentification: Count the needles, this is an "odd" 5 needle pine. Most have long skinny cones and soft leaves with non-persistent bundle sheaths. Most five needle pines have smooth bark as well, at least till they are very old.

Locations:
Aptos
Seacliff: At SeaCliff State park upper parking lot overlooking the ocean
608 Sea Cliff Drive has a nice one.

Capitola Area
Along Highway 1 in several places. Two on the N bound lanes heading North, just south of the Drive In/Flea market.

Santa Cruz
225 Marnell Ave - Awesome
Heading South from the River St intersection on the right just by the Ocean St exit.
head.
On the golf course in DeLeveaga





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