Wasatch Wilderness: Limber Pine (Pinus flexilis James)

WASATCH MOUNTAINS, Utah – Limber Pine (Pinus flexilis James) is a small to medium-sized evergreen tree native to the Wasatch Mountains. A durable tree that often grows on exposed, rocky ridges, it gets its name from flexible and strong twigs that can twist into a knot. The slow-growing species reaches maturity between 200 and 300 years and can live for more than 1,000 years.

Limber Pine Needles. Photo: Ashley Brown.

A mature tree can be between 40 and 50 feet tall. The main trunk is often twisted or distorted when growing on a ridge. The bark varies from smooth and light gray to scary and furrowed dark brown. The light or dark green needles grow between 2 and 3 ½ inches in bundles of 5.

Limber Pine Furrowed and Scaly Bark. Photo: Ashley Brown.

Limber pine cones are an essential food source for mammals and birds, especially squirrels. Look for Limber pines near the timberline between 4,000 and 11,000 feet elevation.

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