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Sunday, January 19, 2014

Pinus flexilis 'Vanderwolf's Pyramid' - Vanderwolf's Pyramidal Limber Pine

The most commonly planted "variety" of the CA native limber pine is the cultivar 'Vanderwolf's Pyramid'. The cultivar is far superior to the species for landscape plantings. Growing narrowly to 30 feet by 15 wide it has upright lateral branches and a bluish cast to the tree. Not commonly seen planted in our county but available through the local nurseries.

Needles are in fascicles of 5, usually 2-3" long, stiffish, bluish green in color, twisted, distinct white stomatal bands on both leaf surfaces but much more on the inner face of the leaf.  Remaining on the tree 5-6 years making the tree reasonably full in appearance. Needles are pointing forward on the newer growth. Fascicle sheath is deciduous, like most white pines.

Needles pointing forward on young stems.

Stems are slightly pubescent when young, and you can see the fascicle sheath has already fallen off. Older trunks on white pines tend to be smooth for many years (unlike yellow pines) but will eventually develop some shallow scaly plates. The name limber comes from the fact that the stems are so flexible you can tie them in a knot. (You might not do this to someone else's tree or one at a nursery, or when its 20 below zero, but we used to tie our tree in knots for fun).

Male cones on lower branches, yellow.

Female cones 3-8" long, yellowish green when mature, developing into a light brown color when open. White pine cones are quite different than yellow pine cones. White pines tend to be narrow, elongated, with scales that don't have a real distinct umbo, just a short darker area at the tip where a yellow pine has some sort of prickle usually.

I planted this tree in Spokane as a 4 foot specimen and it grew to 15 feet in 8 years. Very nice specimen.

Other 5 needle pines we can see in our area:
This tree is small, short but thick blue foliage very distinct white bands of stomates

P. strobus - thin needles, usually bright green. The only one I have seen is the contorted one.
P. torrreyana - Long thick, sharp pointed needles, round cone.
P. wallichiana - long, thin needles, weeping on the stems, longer cone, larger tree.

4525 Crystal in the Jewell Box

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