Limber pine

Pinus flexilis
Limber pine Limber pine

A small, scrubby, twisted tree with short limbs, usually 5 to 10 metres high; the lower branches on older trees become very long and drooping but with upturned tips. It looks similar to whitebark pine, but limber pine has larger cones.

Limber pine leaves and cone

Needles occur in bunches of five, 3 to 9 centimetres long; bluish-green and clustered at the ends of twigs

Seed cones are large and cylindrical, 8 to 20 centimetres long; they are yellowish-brown, and the scales are thickened and sticky towards the tip. The seeds are nut- like and almost wingless.

Limber pine cone
On young trees, the bark is silvery-grey; as the tree matures, the bark becomes thicker, very rough, and nearly black, with wide scaly plates.

Where to find limber pine
It occurs only at higher elevations on the western foothills of the Rocky Mountains, in the extreme southeast of British Columbia.

Where to find limber pine
Limber pine occurs on dry to moderately moist sites in subalpine environments. It occurs as a single tree or in widely spaced groups of trees on rocky terrain, where its roots penetrate the spaces between rocks.

Both the common name and flexilis refer to the flexible nature of the wood of this tree. Having flexible wood is an excellent adaptation for a tree that must deal with heavy snowpack and ice.

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