Catalog Number: US 398615
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Card file verified by examination of alleged type specimen
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): E. W. Nelson
Year Collected: 1898
Locality: Miquihuana., Tamaulipas, Mexico, North America
Elevation (m): 1829 to 2134
- Holotype: Shaw, G. R. 1904. Gard. Chron. ser. 3. 36: 122.
Sierra Madre Oriental Pine-oak Forests Habitat
This taxon is found in the Sierra Madre Oriental pine-oak forests, which exhibit a very diverse community of endemic and specialized species of plants, mammals, reptiles and amphibians. These high mountains run north to south, beginning in the USA and ending in Mexico. The Sierra Madre Oriental pine-oak forests are a highly disjunctive ecoregion, owing to the fact that they are present only at higher elevations, within a region with considerable expanses of lower elevation desert floor.
The climate is temperate humid on the northeastern slope, and temperate sub-humid on the western slope and highest portions of the mountain range. Pine-oak forest habitat covers most of the region, even though most of the primary forest has been destroyed or degraded. However, the wettest portions house a community of cloud forests that constitute the northernmost patches of this vegetation in Mexico. The forests grow on soils derived from volcanic rocks that have a high content of organic matter. The soils of lower elevations are derived from sedimentary rocks, and some of them are formed purely of limestone. In the northernmost portions of the ecoregion, the forests occur on irregular hummocks that constitute biological "islands" of temperate forest in the middle of the Chihuahuan Desert. To the south, from Nuevo León southward until Guanajuato and Queretaro, the ecoregion is more continuous along the mainstem of the Sierra Madre Oriental.
Dominant tree species include the pines: the endemic Nelson's Pine (Pinus nelsonii), Mexican Pinyon (P. cembroides), Smooth-bark Mexican Pine (P. pseudostrobus), and Arizona Pine (P. arizonica); and the oaks Quercus castanea and Q. affinis. In mesic environments, the most common species are P. cembroides, and Alligator Juniper (Juniperus deppeana), but in more xeric environments on the west slopes of the mountains, the endemic P. pinceana is more abundant. Gregg's Pine (P. greggii) and Jelecote Pine (P. patula) are endemic.
Many mammalian species wander these rugged hills. Mule Deer (Odocoileus hemionus), Puma (Puma concolor), Cliff Chipmunk (Tamias dorsalis), Collared Peccary (Tayassu tajacu), Coati (Nasua narica), Jaguar (Panthera onca) and Coyote (Canis latrans) are a few of the many diverse mammals that inhabit this ecoregion. Some threatened mammals found in the ecoregion are: Bolaños Woodrat (Neotoma palatina VU); Diminutive Woodrat (Nelsonia neotomodon NT), known chiefly from the western versant of the Sierra Madre; Chihuahuan Mouse (Peromyscus polius NT); and Mexican Long-nosed Bat (Leptonycteris nivalis EN).
A considerable number of reptilian taxa are found in the Sierra Madre Oriental pine-oak forests, including three endemic snakes: Ridgenose Rattlesnake (Crotalus willardi); Fox´s Mountain Meadow Snake (Adelophis foxi); and the Longtail Rattlesnake (Crotalus stejnegeri VU), restricted to the central Sierra Madre. An endemic skink occurring in the ecoregion is the Fair-headed Skink (Plestiodon callicephalus). The Striped Plateau Lizard (Sceloporus virgatus) is endemic to the ecoregion. The Sonoran Mud Turtle (Kinosternon sonoriense VU) is found in the ecoregion and ranges from southwestern New Mexico south to northwestern Chihuahua.
The following anuran taxa occur in the Sierra Madre Oriental pine-oak forests: Red-spotted Toad (Anaxyrus punctatus); Cane Toad (Rhinella marina); Elegant Narrow-mouthed Toad (Gastrophryne elegans); New Mexico Spadefoot Toad (Spea multiplicata); Sinaloa Toad (Incilius mazatlanensis); Pine Toad (Incilius occidentalis); Southwestern Toad (Anaxyrus microscaphus); Woodhouse's Toad (Anaxyrus woodhousii); Great Plains Narrowmouth Toad (Gastrophryne olivacea); Great Plains Toad (Anaxyrus cognatus); Plateau Toad (Anaxyrus compactilis); Texas Toad (Anaxyrus speciosus); Sonoran Desert Toad (Incilius alvarius), found only at lower ecoregion elevations here; Rana-ladrona Silbadora (Eleutherodactylus teretistes); Sabinal Frog (Leptodactylus melanonotus); Mexican Leaf Frog (Pachymedusa dacnicolor); Montezuma Leopard Frog (Lithobates montezumae); Yavapai Leopard Frog (Lithobates yavapaiensis); Northwest Mexico Leopard Frog (Lithobates magnaocularis); Bigfoot Leopard Frog (Lithobates megapoda), who generally breeds in permanent surface water bodies; Mexican Cascade Frog (Lithobates pustulosus); Tarahumara Frog (Lithobates tarahumarae VU); Western Barking Frog (Craugastor augusti); Lowland Burrowing Frog (Smilisca fodiens); Taylor's Barking Frog (Craugastor occidentalis); Blunt-toed Chirping Frog (Eleutherodactylus modestus VU), found only at the very lowest elevations of the ecoregion; Shiny Peeping Frog (Eleutherodactylus nitidus); California Chorus Frog (Pseudacris cadaverina); Rio Grande Frog (Lithobates berlandieri); Madrean Treefrog (Hyla eximia); Mexican Treefrog (Smilisca baudinii); Dwarf Mexican Treefrog (Tlalocohyla smithii); Canyon Treefrog (Hyla arenicolor); Northern Sheep Frog (Hypopachus variolosus); Chiricahua Leopard Frog (Lithobates chiricahuensis). There are three salamanders found in the ecoregion: the endemic Sacramento Mountains Salamander (Aneides hardii), found only in very high montane reaches above 2400 meters; Tiger Salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum); and the Tarahumara Salamander (Ambystoma rosaceum).
Habitat and Ecology
Pinus nelsonii is a rare pine occurring in the semi-arid foothills and on mesas of the Sierra Madre Oriental; the most extensive populations are found around the Sierra Pea Nevada in Nuevo Len-Tamaulipas. It is restricted to sites on rocky limestone with shallow soils. Its altitudinal range is 1,600-2,300(-2,450) m a.s.l. Annual precipitation ranges from 300-600 mm, falling mostly in the summer during brief thunderstorms. Associated conifers are P. cembroides, P. remota and Juniperus spp. It occurs in a scrubland zone with deciduous woody taxa, e.g. Quercus, Mahonia, Comarostaphylis, Brahea, and Sophora, and arborescent monocots, such as Yucca and Dasylirion. At higher altitudes it may grade into Pinyon-Juniper woodland, while lower down it is bounded by a hotter and drier semi-desert scrubland often dominated by Cactaceae and Yucca spp. Like several other narrow endemic conifers, P. nelsonii is probably an edaphic relict on limestone.
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Barcode data: Pinus nelsonii
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Pinus nelsonii
Public Records: 6
Specimens with Barcodes: 15
Species With Barcodes: 1
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
Pinus nelsonii is a rare species of which most localities / subpopulations do not cover more than one km, so the area of occupancy (84 km2) estimated here, based on 57 herbarium collections from 21 localities and using a grid of two km wide for each locality is probably optimistic and is in reality probably much smaller. With continuing decline this species meets the B2 criterion for listing Endangered.
- 1998Vulnerable (VU)
- 1998Rare (R)
Pinus nelsonii (Nelson's pinyon), is a species of pine native to the mountains of northeastern Mexico, in Nuevo León, San Luis Potosí and Tamaulipas at 1,800–3,200 m altitude. It has very singular characteristics and is not closely related to any other pines in either morphology or genetics. It is placed in subgenus Strobus either in its own section Nelsonia or subsection Nelsoniae.
"Pinus nelsonii is exceptional. Evidence from three nuclear genes (Syring et al., 2005) and cpDNA (Gernandt et al., 2005) resolve P. nelsonii as sister lineage to the remaining members of sect. Parrya. In contrast, the LEA-like locus used in this study places P. nelsonii in a unique, moderately supported (71% BS) position sister to sect. Quinquefoliae when midpoint rooting is employed."
It is a small tree growing to 10 m tall with a trunk up to 20–30 cm diameter. The crown is rounded and dense, and resembles that of the unrelated Pinus pinea from the western Mediterranean. The needles are produced in fascicles of three (occasionally four), but 'zipped' together in apparent single fascicles which can only be separated by force. They are 4–8 (rarely 10) cm long and 0.7–1 mm thick, sub-shiny dark green in colour, with a persistent grey basal sheath 7–9 mm long. The cones are cylindrical, 6–12 cm long and 4–5 cm broad, orange-brown to red-brown colour, with 60–100 scales with large but indistinct umbos, and carried on a stout downcurved peduncle 3–6 cm long. Unlike all other pines, their growth while immature does not pause during the first winter. The seeds are large, 12–15 mm, red-brown. The cones mature in November after rain season. It grows in a semi-arid temperate climate with summer rainfall and is very drought-tolerant.
The seeds are edible and delicious and are very appreciated by people in the region and are so valuable that they are transported to the markets of Mexico City. Because of its seeds it has been very devastated by people. Only recently it has been cultivated outside its native range, grown more for its botanical curiosity than for ornamental values.
The scientific name is occasionally cited incorrectly as Pinus nelsoni; the correct ending is -ii.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Pinus nelsonii.|
- Farjon, A. Pinus nelsonii. 2013 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. Downloaded on 19 December 2014.
- Shaw, G. R. (1904). Pinus nelsonii. Gard. Chron. ser.3, 36: 122, f.49.
- Businsky, R. (2008). "The Genus Pinus L., Pines". Acta Pruhoniciana 88: 1–128.
- Grimshaw, J., & Bayton, R. (2009). New Trees. International Dendrology Society / Kew. ISBN 978-1-84246-173-0.
- Gernandt, D. S.; López, G. G.; García, S. O.; Liston, A. (2005). "Phylogeny and classification of Pinus". Taxon 54 (1): 29–42. doi:10.2307/25065300. JSTOR 25065300.
- Syring, J. et al. (2007). "Widespread Genealogical Nonmonophyly in Species of Pinus Subgenus Strobus". Syst. Bot 56 (2): 163–181.
- Farjon, A. & Styles, B. T. (1997). Pinus (Pinaceae). Flora Neotropica Monograph 75. ISBN 0-89327-411-9
EOL content is automatically assembled from many different content providers. As a result, from time to time you may find pages on EOL that are confusing.
To request an improvement, please leave a comment on the page. Thank you!