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.
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 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.