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Nevada State Tree

Bristlecone Pine

Nevada State Tree: Bristlecone Pine

(Pinaceae Pinus aristata)

Adopted in 1987.

See Singleleaf Pinyon

Nevada designated bristlecone pine (Pinus arisrata) as an official state tree in 1987; single-leaf pinon (Pinus monophylla) was the first tree symbol of Nevada, adopted in 1953.

The Bristlecone Pine (Pinus longaeva) is the oldest living thing on Earth, with some specimens in Nevada more than 4,000 years old. The tree can be found at high elevations. Normal height for older trees is about 15 to 30 feet, although some have attained a height of 60 feet. Diameter growth continues throughout the long life of the tree, resulting in massive trunks with a few contorted limbs.

Students from Ely, Nevada had the bristlecone pine adopted as a symbol for our state. The bristlecone pine is the oldest living thing on Earth, with some specimens in Nevada more than 4,000 years of age. The tree can be found at high elevations. Normal height for older trees is about 15 to 30 feet, although some have attained a height of 60 feet. Diameter growth continues throughout the long life of the tree, resulting in massive trunks with a few contorted limbs.

Nevada State Tree: Bristlecone Pine

The bristlecone pines are three species of pine trees (family Pinaceae, genus Pinus, subsection Balfourianae). Some bristlecone pine individuals are more than 5,000 years old and are the oldest known individuals of any species. Bristlecone pine grow in scattered subalpine groves at high altitude in arid regions of the Western United States. The name comes from the prickles on the female cones.

COMMON NAMES:

Rocky Mountain bristlecone pine Colorado bristlecone pine

Identification of the Bristlecone Pine

Nevada State Tree: Bristlecone Pine
  • Leaf: Acicular, short (1 to 1 1/2 inches long), curved, fascicles of 5, dark green but usually covered with white dots of dried resin. Remain on tree for 10-17 years, giving a bushy appearance that resembles a fox's tail.
  • Flower: Monoecious; male cones small, dark orange and often clustered near the ends of branches; female cones occur singly or in pairs near the ends of branches.
  • Nevada State Tree: Bristlecone Pine
  • Fruit: Moderate sized woody cone (about 3 inches long) with a short stalk; imbricate scales are thickened and tipped with a long bristle, giving rise to its common name. Seeds are winged.
  • Twig: Orange-brown when young but darkening with age.
  • Bark: Young bark is thin, smooth, and gray-white later becoming furrowed and reddish-brown. Old trees on harsh, windy sites may have only a few strands of bark remaining in crevices where it is protected from sandblasting winds.
  • Form: Typically small
  • Cultivation: Pinus aristata is by far the most common of the bristlecone pines in cultivation, where it is a very attractive slow-growing small tree suitable for small gardens in cold climates. Even so, it is never as long-lived as in the wild, typically living less than 100 years before it succumbs to root decay in the warmer, moister conditions prevalent in most inhabited places.

Nevada Law

The law designating the Bristlecone Pine as the official Nevada state tree is found in the Nevada Revised Statutes, Title 19, Chapter 235, Section 235.040.

TITLE 19-MISCELLANEOUS MATTERS RELATED TO GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS
CHAPTER 235 - STATE EMBLEMS; GIFTS AND ENDOWMENTS
MISCELLANEOUS STATE EMBLEMS
SECTION 235.040

NRS 235.040 State trees. The trees known as the Singleleaf Pinyon (Pinus monophylla) and the Bristlecone Pine (Pinus longaeva) are hereby designated as the official state trees of the State of Nevada.

[1:72:1953] - (NRS A 1959, 107; 1987, 785; 1997, 1604)

Taxonomic Hierarchy:  Bristlecone Pine

Kingdom: Plantae - Plants
    Subkingdom: Tracheobionta - Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta - Seed plants
    Division: Coniferophyta - Conifers
Class: Pinopsida
Order: Pinales
Family: Pinaceae - Pine family
Genus: Pinus L. - pine
Species: Pinus aristata Engelm. --bristlecone pine

State Trees
State Trees
All of the state trees, except the Hawaii state tree, are native to the state in which they are designated.
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