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Carried by 1 nurseries
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Plant type



20 - 138 ft Tall



Growth rate




Flowering season


Common uses

Bank stabilization, Containers

The Coulter Pine or Big-cone Pine (Pinus coulteri) is a native of the coastal mountains of southern California (United States) and northern Baja California (Mexico). Isolated groves are found as far north as the San Francisco Bay Area in Mt. Diablo State Park and Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve. The species is named after Thomas Coulter, an Irish botanist and physician. The size ranges from 10-24 meter (30-80 feet) tall, and a trunk diameter up to 1 meter (3 feet). The trunk is vertical and branches horizontal to upcurved. The leaves are needle-like, in bundles of three, waxy pale gray-green, 15-30 centimeter (6-12 inches) long and stout, 2 millimeter (0.01 inch) thick. The outstanding characteristic of this tree is the large, spiny cones which are 20-40 centimeter (8-16 inches) long, and weigh 2-5 kg (4-10 lbs) when fresh. Coulter Pines produce the largest cones of any pine tree species (people are actually advised to wear hardhats when working in Coulter Pine groves), although the slender cones of the sugar pine are longer. The large size of the cones has earned them the nickname "widowmakers" among locals. The wood is weak and soft, so that the species is little used other than for firewood. It is also occasionally planted as an ornamental tree in parks and large gardens.


Full Sun, Partial Shade


Low, Moderate

Soil drainage


Soil description

Dry rocky soils.

Sunset Zones

2*, 3*, 4*, 5, 6*, 7*, 8, 9, 10, 14*, 15*, 16*, 17*, 18*, 19*, 20*, 21*, 22*, 23*, 24


Butterflies and moths supported

1 confirmed and 78 likely

Confirmed Likely

Common Gray|Cranberry Spanworm

Anavitrinella pampinaria

Monterey Pine Needle Miner

Argyresthia pilatella

Orange Tortrix Moth

Argyrotaenia franciscana

Western Pine Elfin

Callophrys eryphon

Plant communities

Foothill Woodland, Yellow Pine Forest,