Brian Kailey, Coordinator – Horticulture, Logan County, discusses Bristlecone Pine


[Music] So here we are back in a beautiful Colorado looking at the Bristlecone pine. Scientific name for the Bristlecone is Pinus aristata, and it’s one of the oldest trees actually in the state of Colorado. The Bristlecone pine needles are one to two inches long, with five fascicles to the group. They tend to be crowded and thick toward the ends of the branches. Needles are usually retained for ten to fifteen years. The needles and cones are sticky and resinous, you’ll see this by the resin deposits that are shown here as white speckles. Pollen cones are a half an inch long. Female cones are two to four inches long. Cone scales are armed with a small bristle, hence the name of the tree. As you can see here we’ll show you what the bristles looks like. Young bark is thin, smooth and gray, later becoming furrowed and reddish brown. Even at full maturity the bark is only about a half an inch thick. This tree typically is small, reaches maybe 50 feet and contorted by the wind and harsh growing conditions where it grows naturally. The Bristlecone pine is a desired landscape pine for patio gardens, rock gardens, and sometimes as a bonsai tree. This tree has a fair drought tolerance, an excellent cold hardiness and as well and dry rocky acidic alkaline, and nutrient-poor soils. Bristle cones provide a food source for red squirrels, clark nutcrackers, upland game, and songbirds. These trees are one of the oldest trees in the world. There is one in central Colorado that has been dated back 2435 years. [Music.]

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