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Jeffrey Pine

Scientific Name:

Pinus jeffreyi






Baja California through the Sierra Nevada mountains and into the southern Cascade range


Least Concern (IUCN Red List)

This species is


to the Truckee Meadows.


Jeffrey pines are coniferous trees that have three needles per bunch. They usually grow between 80 and 130 feet tall and have yellow-brown to cinnamon colored park that is thick and deeply furrowed. Jeffrey pines are very often confused with ponderosa pines, since ponderosas also have three needles per bunch. One easy way to tell these two pines apart is by their cone size and shape. Jeffrey pine cones are larger with scales pointed inward so when you grasp the cone in your hand it does not hurt. The smaller ponderosa pine cones, on the other hand, have scales facing outward that feels prickly to the touch. This has given the two trees their nicknames: “prickly ponderosa" and "gentle Jeffrey”.

Fast Facts:

  • Many describe the scent of Jeffrey pine bark to be similar to vanilla, pineapple, or butterscotch.

  • Jeffrey pines often host pandora moths, a pest for the trees. The moths have been a food source in their larval state by the indigenous Paiute peoples. Trenches were dug around the tree which the larvae would fall into for easy harvest during the month of July.

  • Another difference between ponderosa and jeffrey pines is that ponderosas contain turpentines, whereas Jeffrey pines contain heptane, which is highly explosive. During the Civil War, ponderosa pines were used as a source of turpentine.

  • In the Paiute language, pine trees are called Wogope.



Haley McGuire (research & content)

Alex Shahbazi (edits & page design)

Last Updated:

May 12, 2021 at 9:13:44 PM

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