About Jeffrey Pines

The jeffrey pine (Pinus jeffreyi) is native to the mountains of the far west from southern Oregon to Mexico and eastward to western Nevada. The species’ natural elevational range is 5000 to 8000 feet in the north and 6000 to 9000 feet in the south. The natural climate zones would be from zone 1 to 4. How the species performs outside of its native climate zones is yet to be known. The jeffrey pine has not yet been widely distributed as a landscape tree so there is no information that we can find on its viability outside of its native range. In nature the species begins at the upper elevation of the ponderosa pine belt and grows to the mid point of the lodgepole pine belt. Timber plantations have found that the jeffrey pine outperforms the ponderosa pine even at elevations as low as 2000 feet.

The jeffrey pine is an impressive and very large pine that lives for up to 500 years. They grow to a height of 180 feet with trunks of up to 7 feet in diameter. The bark is reddish brown divided into rough plates by deep closely spaced furrows. The jeffrey pine resembles the ponderosa pine but its bark is darker and more narrowly furrowed and has a very pleasant scent of vanilla. The cones are large and measure up to 8 inches in height by 4 inches in diameter.

The jeffrey pine is usually considered superior to the ponderosa pine for landscaping purposes because they tend to be more attractive and densely foliated in their youth.