Gray Pine

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Gray Pine
Conservation status: Secure

Gray Pine
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Plantae
Division:Pinophyta
Class:Pinopsida
Order:Pinales
Family:Pinaceae
Genus:Pinus
Subgenus:Pinus
Species:P. sabineana

Template:Taxobox section binomial botany

The Gray Pine (Pinus sabineana) is a pine endemic to California in the United States. The tree typically grows to 12-15 m, but can reach 35 m in height. The needles of the Gray Pine are in fascicles (bundles) of three, distinctively pale gray-green, sparse and drooping, and grow to 20-30 cm in length. The seed cones are large and heavy, 12-35 cm in length and almost as wide as they are long. The male cones grow at the base of shoots on the lower branches.

It grows at elevations between sea level and 1200 meters, and is found throughout the state except for the most southerly counties and the eastern counties south of Lake Tahoe. It grows in rocky soil under dry conditions. It commonly occurs in association with Blue Oak Quercus douglasii, and "Oak - Gray Pine vegetation" (a.k.a. "Oak - Foothill Pine vegetation") is used as a description of a kind of habitat characteristic of California, found throughout the hills that ring the Central Valley. In this habitat, the Gray Pine provides a sparse overstory above a canopy of oaks.

Missing image
FoothillPineCone.jpg
Cone of Gray Pine

The Gray Pine has several additional English names, including Foothill Pine, California Foothill Pine, Bull Pine, Nut Pine, and also Digger Pine. This last comes from the fact that Native Americans foraged for its seeds by digging around the base of the tree; this name is now considered derogatory, and is best avoided though still in widespread use. It is also sometimes thought of as a pinyon pine, though it does not belong to that group.

The scientific name commemorates Joseph Sabine, UK botanist, 1770-1837. It was originally spelled sabiniana; this was a typographical error, and it has recently been corrected to sabineana. However the revised spelling has not yet passed into general use, and the spelling sabiniana is the one that will most often be encountered.

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