Discovered in 1852 by Scottish botanist John Jeffrey, the Jeffrey Pine is a towering native tree 180-200 feet in height.  No less impressive, its diameter is usually between 4-6 feet.  The largest known specimen has a trunk diameter of 7.5 feet.  The oldest known Jeffrey Pine is 631 years old and average life expectancy is between 400-500 years.  Pinus jeffreyi is a fast growing tree, hitting the 40 foot mark in only 20 years.  The form these trees take varies.  In high elevations, it is often deformed by wind into what is called a Krummholz form, meaning twisted.  Otherwise, the crown can be rounded or long and symmetrical.  Jeffrey Pine resembles Ponderosa Pine but can be distinguished by its reddish brown bark, rather than the orange tinted Ponderosa bark.  Jeffrey Pine bark is deeply furrowed into long plates.   An interesting characteristic of this native tree is the distinct odor of pineapple or vanilla from the bark and resin. 
Needles also resemble Ponderosa Pine's but Pinus jeffreyi's are a darker

Trees of North America- A guide to field identification-a Golden Field Guide from St. Martin's Press © 2002 By C. Frank Brockman p.30

The Encyclopedia of North American Trees by Sam Benvie. Firefly Books Ltd., 2000 Buffalo, NY © 2000 Sam Benvie p.170

Diseases of Trees and Shrubs, 2nd edition, by Wayne A. Sinclair and Howard H. Lyon,  © 2005 Cornell University, Cornell Univeristy Press, p. 448, 480

USDA, NRCS. 2011. The PLANTS Database (<>, 22 August 2011). National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901

USDA NRCS. 2011 NATIONAL Plant Data Center, Plant Guide- Jeffrey Pine. Prepared by: Lincoln M. Moore, USDA NRCS NATIONAL Plants Data Center, Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Jeffrey D. Walker Wilson, Earth Team Volunteer, USDA NRCS NATIONAL Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  Species Coordinator: Lincoln M. Moore, USDA NRCS

Gucker, Corey 2007. Pinus jeffreyi. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: [2011, August 22].
State List: CA, NV, OR

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Maps courtesy USDA NRCS PLANTS Database
Photo citation: © 1995 Saint Mary's College of California, Brother Alfred Brousseau
Jeffrey Pine is native to the southwestern corner of Oregon
Native to most of California with the exception of central coastal counties and the southern most tip
Pinus jeffreyi can be found along the northern portion of Nevada's western border
Jeffrey Pine has thick deeply fissured platy bark
Photo citation: © 1995 Saint Mary's College of California, Brother Alfred Brousseau
Synomym:  Pinus ponderosa C. Lawson spp. jeffreyi (Balf.) Engelm.

PROTECTED in Nevada as a Cactus, Yucca, or Christmas tree
shade of green.  The 7 to 11 inch, 3-bundled (sometimes 2) needles persist for 6-9 years (some sources state 3-9 years), help attribute to the dense crown of this towering tree.  Female cones are large, 5 to 15 inches long, and have an inward curving prickle, or spike on each scale.  The male pollen cones are much smaller, only .8 to 1.5 inches long.  Once fertilized, the female cones take two years to mature.  Roots of Jeffrey Pines are strong and wide spreading with a deep taproot.
Pests, Diseases, and Elemental

There are many agents that adversely affect Jeffrey Pines.  One environmental problem is ozone.  In the Sequoia National Forest, approximately 90% showed visible signs of ozone damage.  Needles
develop chlorotic spots, yellowish-brown in color, irregularly along nearly the entire needle margin.  In extremely polluted areas, needles may only be found in two age classes, meaning the needles fall off the trees far sooner than normal.  This contributes to the decline of the affected tree by stunting growth and opening a path for secondary agents like insects, fungi and other environmental hazards that inflict further damage.  Another threat faced by this native species across its range is the parasitic pest Arceuthobium campylopodum, Western Dwarf Mistletoe. There are several needle rusts, as well as black stain root disease, charcoal root rot and both limb rust and limb cankers.   In the Sierra Nevada, there are also outbreaks of witch's broom.  The main damaging insect is the Jeffrey Pine Beetle.

Lumber is the primary use of the hard, strong wood.  It is also used for pulpwood, veneers and can be found as 

Jeffrey Pine helps support a number of birds and mammals with food and cover.  Black bears in particular consume large quantities of seeds.
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Jeffrey Pine,
Pinus jeffreyi
Grev. & Balf.
A firmaret radicem amittere possit foliis in vento et triturabis bacchatur durante tempestas, sed supersit quia est flexibilis. Talis est vita.
nursery stock.  As with all pines, turpentine can be distilled from the resin.  A versatile liquid, it has been used to treat kidney and bladder ailments, and as a bath additive to combat rheumatic symptoms, respiratory infections like coughs, colds and even influenza.  Poultices have been made to address skin issues such as wounds, boils and more.  In the late 1800's, the liquid distilled from the resin was used in treatments for tuberculosis. Jeffrey Pine; however, is not suitable for making turpentine as the distillation of the resin yields almost pure n-heptane, an explosive compound when ignited.  It is this quality which made it the zero point for petrol rating on the octane scale.


Native to higher elevations in California, Nevada and Oregon, preferred sites have shallow, infertile soils.  Soil texture ranges from rocky or gravelly to sandy or clayey loams.  It is a shade intolerant species that can be found at moist mountain meadow edges and in places quite the opposite such as slopes bordering deserts.  It does require 20-80 inches of annual rainfall but is drought tolerant.  It is well adapted to cold temperatures and utilizes a short growing period to survive.  Jeffrey Pine will not survive temperatures below -38°F and needs 120 frost free days. Seeds require cold stratification for higher rates of germination.  In areas prone to fire, fallen needles should be managed as they are quick drying, easily ignitable and help spread the fire. 
Pests and Diseases
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A firmaret radicem amittere possit foliis in vento et triturabis bacchatur durante tempestas, sed supersit quia est flexibilis. Talis est vita.