Coulter pine

(Pinus coulteri)



Pinus coulteri is a native of the coastal mountains of Southern California in the United States and northern Baja California in Mexico. Isolated groves are found as far north as Clearlake, California on the flanks of Mt. Konocti and Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve. It is named after Thomas Coulter, an Irish botanist and physician. The Coulter pine produces the heaviest cone of any pine tree, up to 5 kg (11 lb). Although it has a limited range in the wild, the Coulter pine is a popular ornamental tree and is grown in many countries including the Netherlands. Pinus coulteri is a substantial coniferous evergreen tree in the genus Pinus. The size ranges from 10–24 m (33–79 ft) tall, and a trunk diameter up to 1 m (3.3 ft). The trunk is vertical and branches horizontal to upcurved. The leaves are needle-like, in bundles of three, glaucous gray-green, 15–30 cm (5.9–11.8 in) long and stout, 2 mm (0.079 in) thick. The outstanding characteristic of this tree is the large, spiny cones which are 20–40 cm (7.9–15.7 in) long, and weigh 2–5 kg (4.4–11.0 lb) when fresh. Coulter pines produce the largest cones of any pine tree species and people are advised to wear hardhats when working in Coulter pine groves, although the slender cones of the sugar pine are longer. The large size of the cones has earned them the nickname "widowmakers" among locals.

Taxonomic tree:

Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Coniferophyta
Class: Pinopsida
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