Table mountain pine

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Table Mountain pine
Pinus pungens
Pinus pungens.jpg
Cultivated specimen
Morton Arboretum acc. 255-86-3
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Division: Pinophyta
Class: Pinopsida
Order: Pinales
Family: Pinaceae
Genus: Pinus
Subgenus: P. subg. Pinus
Section: P. sect. Trifoliae
Subsection: P. subsect. Australes
P. pungens
Binomial name
Pinus pungens
Pinus pungens distribution map.png
Natural range

Table Mountain pine,[2] Pinus pungens, also called hickory pine, prickly pine,[2] or mountain pine,[3] is a small pine native to the Appalachian Mountains in the United States.


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.

Buds ovoid to cylindric, red-brown, 0.6-0.9 cm, resinous.[4]


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. ^ Farjon, A. (2013). "Pinus pungens". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2013: e.T42406A2977840. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2013-1.RLTS.T42406A2977840.en.
  2. ^ a b "Pinus pungens". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  3. ^ 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. ISBN 1-4027-3875-7.
  4. ^ "Pinus pungens (Table Mountain pine) description - The Gymnosperm Database". Retrieved 2019-06-11.
  • Farjon, A. & Frankis, M. P. (2002). Pinus pungens. Curtis's Botanical Magazine 19: 97-103.

External links

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