The Knobcone Pine (Pinus attenuata) is a tree that grows in mild climates on poor soils. It ranges from the mountains of southern Oregon to Baja California with the greatest concentration in northern California and the Oregon-California border. This pine reaches heights of 8-24 m; however, it can be a shrub on especially poor sites. It prefers dry rocky mountain soils.
The crown is usually conical with a straight trunk. The bark is smooth, flaky and gray-brown when young, becoming dark gray-red-brown and shallowly furrowed into flat scaly ridges. The twigs are red-brown and often resinous.
The leaves are in fascicles of three, needle-like, yellow-green, twisted, and 9-15 cm long. The cones are 8-16 cm long and clustered in whorls of 3 to 6 on the branches. The scales end in a short stout prickle. The cones remain closed for many years until a fire opens them and allows reseeding. As a result, the cones may even become embedded in the trunk as the tree grows.
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