Sugar Pine Pinus lambertiana

Sugar Pines are not common in the Santa Lucia Mountains occuring only on a few of the tallest peaks. Mature Sugar Pines are the largest of all pines in the world and their cones are the longest of all pines — growing up to 24 inches long. From a distance the wide speading limbs and uneven symetry often stand out. The Sugar Pines of these mountains are examples of distjunct distribution as they are geographically separated from others of their species and no longer mix genetically with distant Sugar Pine populations.

sugar pine tree
A Sugar Pine near the summit of one of the highest peaks of the Santa Lucia Mountains.

sugar pine needles
Needles are about 4 inches long and in bundles of 5.

sugar pine cones
Known for having the longest cone of any conifer the typical cone might range anywhere from 12 to 18 inches long with record seed cones reaching 24 to 26 inches long.

sugar pine trees
Mature Sugar Pines stand out with their wide spread limbs and irregular shapes near the crown. Like many pines they will have "mast" years (approximately every 3-7 years) where the tree will bear an unusually high number of cones, bending down the limbs with the weight of the cones.

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