Pinus attenuata


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Pinus attenuata
Species Authority: Lemmon
Common Name(s):
English Knobcone Pine, Narrowcone Pine

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2011-03-16
Assessor(s): Farjon, A.
Reviewer(s): Thomas, P. & Stritch, L.

Pinus attenuata has an extensive extent of occurrence and is still numerous in certain parts of its range, especially in the northern counties of California. In certain areas close to urbanization fire prevention and suppression is likely to affect this species negatively in future, so a limited decline percentage is suspected for the future. However, this seems insufficient in relation to the global population size to place this species under threat or even to mark it as Near Threatened.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Mexico: Baja California Norte; USA: California, S Oregon.
Mexico (Baja California); United States (California, Oregon)
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Numbers of mature trees in any given locality can fluctuate greatly with the incidence of fire, which tends to kill all trees. Regeneration from seeds normally follows this, and in the early stages seedlings and saplings can be numerous. However, this does not normally affect the global population, as these fires do not occur simultaneously everywhere, but are interspersed in space and time.
Population Trend: Stable

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This species is a fire successional tree with extremely persistent and serotinous seed cones on dry slopes in chaparral or similar vegetation, also on rocky outcrops of serpentine with little other plant growth. In the northern part of its range, where trees grow somewhat taller, it is often mixed with several species of oak (Quercus spp.) and with Cupressus sp. In the U.S.A. its altitudinal range is from 300-1,200(-1,700) m a.s.l. In Mexico it is found mainly from 250-600 m a.s.l. and close to the coast. Phenology: Pinus attenuata disperses pollen in late March-April in most of its range.
Systems: Terrestrial

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Knobcone Pine has little or no value as a timber tree. Its erratic growth habit and generally small size do not yield quality timber; its dry habitat ensures slow growth to any useful size, although on establishment after fire its initial growth rate is quite rapid. Cross sections of stems with inclosed whorls of cones have sometimes been polished and offered as curios in local woodcraft shops. Its horticultural merits are likewise not esteemed and it is therefore restricted to a few arboreta and pineta, mainly in regions with a suitable, Mediterranean type climate, or at least one with warm, dry summers and mild winters. In California, hybridization experiments have resulted in hybrids with P. radiata (known as P. ×attenuradiata Stockwell & Righter) and with P. muricata. All three species belong to a group of pines informally known as the 'California closed-cone pines' that are closely related

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Prevention of fire will eventually lead to the disappearance of this species from the forest community, which becomes then dominated by less fire-adapted tree species. Urbanization in many parts of its range is a potential threat that may lead to a decline in the near future.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species occurs in several protected areas. Its long-term survival is closely dependent on fire regimes; management should attempt at maintaining the frequency and intensity of fires as close as possible to the natural situation. Knobcone Pine has apparently been planted in several localities in California (Griffin and Critchfield 1972 and several labels of herbarium specimens), some of which are outside its natural area of occupancy or even extent of occurrence. It is doubtful whether these can be interpreted as “benign introductions” and they are not considered as part of this assessment.

Citation: Farjon, A. 2013. Pinus attenuata. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <>. Downloaded on 30 March 2015.
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