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Table mountain pine

Table Mountain pine
Pinus pungens
Cultivated specimen
Morton Arboretum acc. 255-86-3
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pinophyta
Class: Pinopsida
Order: Pinales
Family: Pinaceae
Genus: Pinus
Subgenus: Pinus
Species: P. pungens
Binomial name
Pinus pungens
Natural range

Table Mountain pine,[1] Pinus pungens, also called hickory pine, prickly pine,[1] or mountain pine,[2] is a small pine native to the Appalachian Mountains in the United States.


  • Description 1
  • In culture 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4


Pinus pungens is a tree of modest size (6–12 m), and has a rounded, irregular shape. The needles are in bundles of two, occasionally three, yellow-green to mid green, fairly stout, and 4–7 cm long.The pollen is released early compared to other pines in the area to minimize hybridization. The cones are very short-stalked (almost sessile), ovoid, pale pinkish to yellowish buff, and 4–9 cm long; each scale bears a stout, sharp spine 4–10 mm long. Sapling trees can bear cones in a little as 5 years.

This pine prefers dry conditions and is mostly found on rocky slopes, preferring higher elevations, from 300–1760 m altitude. It commonly grows as single scattered trees or small groves, not in large forests like most other pines, and needs periodic disturbances for seedling establishment.

In culture

Pinus pungens is the Lonesome Pine of the 1908 novel The Trail of the Lonesome Pine by John Fox, and popularised in the Laurel and Hardy film Way out West:

On the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia
On the Trail of the Lonesome Pine

Several "Lonesome Pine" hiking trails have been waymarked in the Blue Ridge Mountains and elsewhere in the Appalachians.


  1. ^ a b "USDA GRIN Taxonomy". 
  2. ^ Moore, Gerry; Kershner, Bruce; Craig Tufts; Daniel Mathews; Gil Nelson; Spellenberg, Richard; Thieret, John W.; Terry Purinton; Block, Andrew (2008). National Wildlife Federation Field Guide to Trees of North America. New York: Sterling. p. 71.  
  • Conifer Specialist Group (1998). Pinus pungens. 2006. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. Retrieved on 12 May 2006.
  • Farjon, A. & Frankis, M. P. (2002). Pinus pungens. Curtis's Botanical Magazine 19: 97-103.

External links

  • infoPinus pungensFlora of North America: and Range MapP. pungens
  • images at bioimages.vanderbilt.eduPinus pungens
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