Fun Facts about Pine Cones
The San Bernardino mountain range is a unique mountain range in that it runs east to west and is located in a Mediterranean climate. Because the mountain range runs east to west, sunshine gives rise to a variety of plants . We have eight different native Pine trees in our area. Also there are a variety of cedar, firs and junipers that have cones (and are conifers, cone bearing trees) but they are not a true pine cone. A pine trees all have pine needles,
THE COULTER PINE
is the heaviest pine cone in the world!!! They can weigh up to 10 pounds or more (where is the biggest one)? These cones can be deadly if they fall on your head. Old time loggers called them “widow makers” because they killed loggers when cones fell. The Indians also ate the pine nuts.
THE SUGAR PINE
is the longest pine cone in the world!!! Up to 24” or maybe more (where is the longest?) They got their name from their sweet sap. The Indians used the sap like glue as well as chewed it like gum. The nuts are also edible. The tree is the tallest of all pines in the world. The sugar pine can be up to 280 feet!!
is known as the hardest pine cone in the world. Knob cone is a closed cone that relies on the heat of a wildfire to open them up so the seeds drop. This cone can become embedded in the branches.
was prized by local Indians who not only enjoyed the large brown nuts but used parts of the tree for a variety of medicinal purposes. Placing cones near a fire opens the scales so nuts can be easily removed. This is the only one needle pine in the world. Most pines have 3-5 needle sheaths.
has a small cone about 2 inches long. Used a lot in decorations, they are fairly open and easy to work with. The tree gets its name from its trunks that are so straight they made great poles for the Indians’ teepees. The tallest Lodge pole Pine in the world is located in the San Bernardino Mountains.
also known as “gentle Jeffrey”, the prickles on the end of its scales are turned inward so it does’t hurt when you handle it. The Jeffrey and the Ponderosa look alike but feel different. The Jeffrey isn’t’t prickly like the Ponderosa. Cones are typical in form and are 4-6 inches in length.You can also identify this tree by its bark that smells like vanilla.
looks a lot like the Jeffrey, but its scales stick out and make this pine cone “prickly.” Its nickname is “Prickly Ponderosa.” It is typically smaller than the Jeffrey Pine. The Ponderosa is the most widely distributed pine tree in North America. Frequently when Ponderosa and Jeffrey pines inhabit the same location, they will cross breed.
cones are thick, often curved and are between 3-8 inches in length. The tree is sturdy and stout and grows at the higher elevations. Its small branches are so flexible they can be tied in knots.