Overview

Distribution

National Distribution

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

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Global Range: Known from the Sierra Nevada from Mt. Rose (Nev.) north nearly to Oregon, and perhaps also in eastern Oregon as well.

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Washoe pine occurs in three mountain ranges on the western rim of the
Great Basin in northeastern California and northwestern Nevada [3,4,17].
It occupies a few square miles on the east slopes of Mount Rose, Nevada,
and can be found in small stands in the southern Warner Mountains and in
the Bald Mountain range of northeastern California [3,4]. Isolated
stands have been reported in Oregon and British Columbia [4,16].
  • 16. Munz, Philip A. 1973. A California flora and supplement. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 1905 p. [6155]
  • 3. Critchfield, William B.; Little, Elbert L., Jr. 1966. Geographic distribution of the pines of the world. Misc. Publ. 991. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 97 p. [20314]
  • 4. Critchfield, William B. 1984. Crossability and relationships of Washoe pine. Madrono. 31(3): 144-170. [21749]
  • 17. Niebling, Charles R.; Conkle, M. Thompson. 1990. Diversity of Washoe pine and comparisons with allozymes of ponderosa pine races. Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 20(3): 298-308. [15841]

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Regional Distribution in the Western United States

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This species can be found in the following regions of the western United States (according to the Bureau of Land Management classification of Physiographic Regions of the western United States):

4 Sierra Mountains
5 Columbia Plateau

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Occurrence in North America

CA NV OR BC

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Physical Description

Morphology

Description

Washoe pine is a native conifer which grows up to 115 feet (35 m) tall
and 5 feet (1.5 m) in diameter. It has a conic or flat-topped crown
[9]. The short, stout needles occur in bundles of three and are 4 to 6
inches (10-15 cm) long [4]. The seed cones are 2 to 3.2 inches (5-8 cm)
long and have short-winged seeds [4]. The bark is shallowly furrowed
[9]. The oldest Washoe pine is on Mount Rose, Nevada. Its estimated
age in 1962 exceeded 300 years. Several other trees in the area have
estimated ages of 100 to 250 years [4].
  • 9. Hickman, James C., ed. 1993. The Jepson manual: Higher plants of California. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 1400 p. [21992]
  • 4. Critchfield, William B. 1984. Crossability and relationships of Washoe pine. Madrono. 31(3): 144-170. [21749]

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Description

Trees to 60m; trunk to 1m diam., straight; crown pyramidal. Bark yellow-brown to reddish, fissured, plates scaly. Branches spreading-ascending; twigs stout, orangish, aging gray, rough. Buds ovoid, red-brown, 1.5--2cm, not resinous; scale margins fringed. Leaves (2--)3 per fascicle, spreading-ascending, persisting (2--)4--6(--7) years, 10--15cm ´ ca. 1.5mm, slightly twisted, gray-green, all surfaces with stomatal lines, margins finely serrulate, apex acuminate; sheath 1--2cm, base persistent. Pollen cones cylindric, 10--20mm, red-purple. Seed cones maturing in 2 years, shedding seeds soon thereafter, not persistent, spreading, slightly asymmetric, ovoid-conic before opening, broadly ovoid when open, 7--10cm, tan or pale red-brown, sessile, abaxial surface of scales darker and sharply contrasting in color with adaxial surface; apophyses slightly raised, low pyramidal; umbo central, narrowly pyramidal, tapering into short, reflexed, fine prickle. Seeds ellipsoid; body ca. 0.8cm, gray-brown; wing to 16mm. 2 n =24.
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Type Information

Isotype for Pinus washoensis H. Mason & Stockw.
Catalog Number: US 2301121
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Original publication and alleged type specimen examined
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): H. L. Mason
Year Collected: 1940
Locality: E side of Mount Rose, Sierra Nevada., Washoe, Nevada, United States, North America
Elevation (m): 2591 to 2591
  • Isotype: Mason, H. L. & Stockwell, W. P. 1945. Madrono. 8: 62.
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Ecology

Habitat

Comments: Mountain slopes (1980-2440 m elevation) with western white pine (P. monticola), lodgepole pine (P. contorta), ponderosa pine (P. ponderosa), and California red fir (Abies magnifica).

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Key Plant Community Associations

More info for the term: natural

Washoe pine typically occurs in pure stands at higher elevations along
the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada. In the northern Sierra Nevada
and into the southern Cascade Range, it forms mixed stands with Jeffrey
pine, Pacific ponderosa pine, incense cedar (Libocedrus decurrens),
white fir (Abies concolor), California red fir (A. magnifica), and
western juniper (Juniperus occidentalis) [4,10,14,16,21]. Other common
tree associates include sugar pine (Pinus lambertiana) and quaking aspen
(Populus tremuloides var. aurea). Other associates include mountain
sweetroot (Osmorhiza chilensis), white hawkweed (Hieracium albiflorum),
greenleaf manzanita (Arctostaphylos patula), mountain big sagebrush
(Artemesia tridentata ssp. vaseyana), antelope bitterbrush (Purshia
tridentata), snowbrush ceanothus (Ceanothus velutinus), wooly wyethia
(Wyethia mollis), snowberry (Symphoricarpos vaccinioides), Idaho fescue
(Festuca idahoensis), Wheeler bluegrass (Poa nervosa), and Orcutt brome
(Bromus orcuttianus) [1,10,14,18,20,21].

Publications listing Washoe pine as a dominant species are:

Preliminary descriptions of the terrestrial natural communities of
California [10]
Symposium Proceedings--plant communities of southern California [13]
Forest habitat types of the South Warner Mountains, Modoc County,
California [20]
Montane and subalpine vegetation of the Sierra Nevada and Cascade Ranges
[21].
  • 16. Munz, Philip A. 1973. A California flora and supplement. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 1905 p. [6155]
  • 1. Allen-Diaz, Barbara H. 1991. Water table and plant species relationships in Sierra Nevada meadows. American Midland Naturalist. 126: 30-43. [16149]
  • 4. Critchfield, William B. 1984. Crossability and relationships of Washoe pine. Madrono. 31(3): 144-170. [21749]
  • 10. Holland, Robert F. 1986. Preliminary descriptions of the terrestrial natural communities of California. Sacramento, CA: California Department of Fish and Game. 156 p. [12756]
  • 13. Latting, June, ed. 1976. Symposium proceedings--plant communities of southern California. Special Publication No. 2. Berkeley, CA: California Native Plant Society. 164 p. [1414]
  • 14. Laudenslayer, William F., Jr.; Darr, Herman H.; Smith, Sydney. 1989. Historical effects of forest management practices on eastside pine communities in northeastern California. In: Tecle, Aregai; Covington, W. Wallace; Hamre, R. H., technical coordinators. Multiresource management of ponderosa pine forests: Proceedings of the symposium; 1989 November 14-16; Flagstaff, AZ. Gen. Tech. Rep. RM-185. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station: 26-34. [11305]
  • 18. Raphael, Martin G.; Morrison, Michael L.; Yoder-Williams, Michael P. 1987. Breeding bird populations during twenty-five years of postfire succession in the Sierra Nevada. Condor. 89: 614-626. [6873]
  • 20. Riegel, Gregg M.; Thornburgh, Dale A.; Sawyer, John O. 1990. Forest habitat types of the South Warner Mountains, Modoc County, California. Madrono. 37(2): 88-112. [11466]
  • 21. Rundel, Philip W.; Parsons, David J.; Gordon, Donald T. 1977. Montane and subalpine vegetation of the Sierra Nevada and Cascade Ranges. In: Barbour, Michael G.; Major, Jack, eds. Terrestrial vegetation of California. New York: John Wiley & Sons: 559-599. [4235]

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Habitat characteristics

Washoe pine is common on broad ridgetops and north-facing slopes
[18,20]. It may occur on other aspects; on volcanic ridges south of the
Warner Wilderness area, it comprises 50 to 75 percent of total stocking
on gentle west- and southwest-facing slopes [21]. Best growth occurs on
well-drained soils [9]. Washoe pine occurs from 5,500 to 8,500 feet
(1,650-2,550 m) elevation [4,9,10]. An isolated population in British
Columbia, Canada, occurs at 4,818 feet elevation (1,460 m) [4].
  • 9. Hickman, James C., ed. 1993. The Jepson manual: Higher plants of California. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 1400 p. [21992]
  • 4. Critchfield, William B. 1984. Crossability and relationships of Washoe pine. Madrono. 31(3): 144-170. [21749]
  • 10. Holland, Robert F. 1986. Preliminary descriptions of the terrestrial natural communities of California. Sacramento, CA: California Department of Fish and Game. 156 p. [12756]
  • 18. Raphael, Martin G.; Morrison, Michael L.; Yoder-Williams, Michael P. 1987. Breeding bird populations during twenty-five years of postfire succession in the Sierra Nevada. Condor. 89: 614-626. [6873]
  • 20. Riegel, Gregg M.; Thornburgh, Dale A.; Sawyer, John O. 1990. Forest habitat types of the South Warner Mountains, Modoc County, California. Madrono. 37(2): 88-112. [11466]
  • 21. Rundel, Philip W.; Parsons, David J.; Gordon, Donald T. 1977. Montane and subalpine vegetation of the Sierra Nevada and Cascade Ranges. In: Barbour, Michael G.; Major, Jack, eds. Terrestrial vegetation of California. New York: John Wiley & Sons: 559-599. [4235]

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Habitat: Ecosystem

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This species is known to occur in the following ecosystem types (as named by the U.S. Forest Service in their Forest and Range Ecosystem [FRES] Type classification):

FRES21 Ponderosa pine
FRES23 Fir - spruce
FRES26 Lodgepole pine

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Habitat: Cover Types

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This species is known to occur in association with the following cover types (as classified by the Society of American Foresters):

207 Red fir
208 Whitebark pine
211 White fir
218 Lodgepole pine
237 Interior ponderosa pine
238 Western juniper
243 Sierra Nevada mixed conifer
247 Jeffrey pine

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Habitat: Plant Associations

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This species is known to occur in association with the following plant community types (as classified by Küchler 1964):

K005 Mixed conifer forest
K007 Red fir forest
K008 Lodgepole pine - subalpine forest

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Habitat & Distribution

Dry montane forests; of conservation concern; 2100--2500m; Calif., Nev.
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Population Biology

Number of Occurrences

Note: For many non-migratory species, occurrences are roughly equivalent to populations.

Estimated Number of Occurrences: 6 - 20

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General Ecology

Fire Management Considerations

More info for the terms: basal area, cover, shrub, shrubs, succession, wildfire

Fire suppression in white fir habitat types in northeastern California
leads to an increase in white fir, with a corresponding decrease in pine
species (including Washoe pine) reproduction [20].

A yellow pine-fir forest in the eastern Sierra Nevada near Truckee,
California, burned in a 1960 wildfire. In 1965, the burned plot had
greater cover of shrubs, herbs, and grasses than an adjacent unburned
plot. From 1966 to 1985 shrub cover increased while herbaceous cover
decreased. In postfire year 15 yellow pines were the dominant trees,
although white and California red fir were present. Yellow pines
codominated with the firs in nearby unburned stands. Data are shown
below [18]:

postfire year 15
density/ha basal area (sq.m/ha)
burned plot
yellow pine complex 97.4 3.1
white and California red fir 4.5 1.7

unburned plot
yellow pine complex 335.5 24.2
white and California red fir 448.8 15.1

The responses of small birds to succession after this wildfire
demonstrates the potential effectiveness of increasing habitat
diversity, spatially and temporally, on breeding bird populations [22].

In the eastside yellow pine forests of northeastern California, fuel
loading has increased over time. Early logging operations increased
slash and fire hazards. Invasion of eastside pine lands by cheatgrass
(Bromus tectorum) and increases of woody shrubs, dense thickets of young
trees, and accretion of woody debris have increased the probability of
stand-replacing fires [14].
  • 14. Laudenslayer, William F., Jr.; Darr, Herman H.; Smith, Sydney. 1989. Historical effects of forest management practices on eastside pine communities in northeastern California. In: Tecle, Aregai; Covington, W. Wallace; Hamre, R. H., technical coordinators. Multiresource management of ponderosa pine forests: Proceedings of the symposium; 1989 November 14-16; Flagstaff, AZ. Gen. Tech. Rep. RM-185. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station: 26-34. [11305]
  • 18. Raphael, Martin G.; Morrison, Michael L.; Yoder-Williams, Michael P. 1987. Breeding bird populations during twenty-five years of postfire succession in the Sierra Nevada. Condor. 89: 614-626. [6873]
  • 20. Riegel, Gregg M.; Thornburgh, Dale A.; Sawyer, John O. 1990. Forest habitat types of the South Warner Mountains, Modoc County, California. Madrono. 37(2): 88-112. [11466]
  • 22. Severson, Kieth E.; Rinne, John N. 1990. Increasing habitat diversity in Southwestern forests and woodlands via prescribed fire. In: Krammes, J. S., technical coordinator. Effects of fire management of Southwestern natural resources: Proceedings of the symposium; 1988 November 15-17; Tucson, AZ. Gen. Tech. Rep. RM-191. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station: 94-104. [11277]

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Immediate Effect of Fire

Literature concerning fire effects specific to Washoe pine is lacking.
However, many of the yellow pines harvested in northeastern California
during the early 1900's survived earlier fires. Stumps 16 to 36 inches
(40.6-81.4 m) tall usually remained after harvest. The lowest portions
of the trees were left because they were defective from fire scarring or
accumulation of pitch from low-intensity fires [14].
  • 14. Laudenslayer, William F., Jr.; Darr, Herman H.; Smith, Sydney. 1989. Historical effects of forest management practices on eastside pine communities in northeastern California. In: Tecle, Aregai; Covington, W. Wallace; Hamre, R. H., technical coordinators. Multiresource management of ponderosa pine forests: Proceedings of the symposium; 1989 November 14-16; Flagstaff, AZ. Gen. Tech. Rep. RM-185. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station: 26-34. [11305]

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Post-fire Regeneration

Tree without adventitious-bud root crown

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Fire Ecology

More info for the terms: cover, fuel, shrub

Before settlement, eastern-slope yellow pine communities of northeastern
California generally consisted of either monotypic stands or mixtures of
Washoe, ponderosa, and Jeffrey pines. Structurally, eastside pine
forests usually consisted of widely scattered, large trees.
Low-severity fires were frequent, but forests may have had occasional
stand-replacing fires [14,28]. Canopy closures probably ranged from
about 30 percent on dry sites to 80 percent in the most productive
areas. A 1917 report stated that yellow pines of the area were often
only four-log trees (a standard log was 16 feet long), suggesting that
mature trees were shorter than 100 feet (30 m) [14].

Susceptibility to fire in mid-elevation Washoe pine stands has increased
since 1850 because of fuel buildups and increased stocking of white fir.
Juniper and shrub cover have replaced the typical shrub/grass understory
at low elevations as a result of livestock grazing and fire suppression
[14].
  • 14. Laudenslayer, William F., Jr.; Darr, Herman H.; Smith, Sydney. 1989. Historical effects of forest management practices on eastside pine communities in northeastern California. In: Tecle, Aregai; Covington, W. Wallace; Hamre, R. H., technical coordinators. Multiresource management of ponderosa pine forests: Proceedings of the symposium; 1989 November 14-16; Flagstaff, AZ. Gen. Tech. Rep. RM-185. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station: 26-34. [11305]
  • 28. Vale, Thomas R. 1977. Forest changes in the Warner Mountains, California. Annals of the Association of American Geographers. 67(1): 28-45. [20226]

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Successional Status

More info on this topic.

More info for the term: cover

Facultative Seral Species

Washoe pine is a long-lived seral species in white fir communities [20].
It is plentiful in the community, with cover often equaling or exceeding
white fir. Fir reproduction usually exceeds that of Washoe pine,
however, unless fires are fairly frequent [20]. Washoe pine is dominant
at higher elevations [14,20].
  • 14. Laudenslayer, William F., Jr.; Darr, Herman H.; Smith, Sydney. 1989. Historical effects of forest management practices on eastside pine communities in northeastern California. In: Tecle, Aregai; Covington, W. Wallace; Hamre, R. H., technical coordinators. Multiresource management of ponderosa pine forests: Proceedings of the symposium; 1989 November 14-16; Flagstaff, AZ. Gen. Tech. Rep. RM-185. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station: 26-34. [11305]
  • 20. Riegel, Gregg M.; Thornburgh, Dale A.; Sawyer, John O. 1990. Forest habitat types of the South Warner Mountains, Modoc County, California. Madrono. 37(2): 88-112. [11466]

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Growth Form (according to Raunkiær Life-form classification)

More info on this topic.

More info for the term: phanerophyte

Phanerophyte

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Life Form

More info for the term: tree

Tree

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Regeneration Processes

Literature specific to Washoe pine regeneration is sparse. In the Mount
Rose population, Washoe pine exhibits low seed production and has low
reproductive capacity [4,17].
  • 4. Critchfield, William B. 1984. Crossability and relationships of Washoe pine. Madrono. 31(3): 144-170. [21749]
  • 17. Niebling, Charles R.; Conkle, M. Thompson. 1990. Diversity of Washoe pine and comparisons with allozymes of ponderosa pine races. Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 20(3): 298-308. [15841]

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Plant Response to Fire

Literature specific to Washoe pine's response to fire is lacking.

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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Phenology

More info on this topic.

More info for the term: natural

Washoe pine pollen is shed from June 24 to July 4 on Mount Rose [4].
Cones mature in August and September and open in September throughout
its range [27].

Natural seedling dormancy begins when soil temperature is below 50
degrees Fahrenheit (10 deg C) [11].

In the nursery, Washoe pine seedlings cease visible top growth by
mid-October and visible root growth by late November. In January top
growth is evident. The first traces of renewed root growth appear in
late February and bud swell begins in late March [11].
  • 27. Kuchler, A. W. 1964. Manual to accompany the map of potential vegetation of the conterminous United States. Special Publication No. 36. New York: American Geographical Society. 77 p. [1384]
  • 4. Critchfield, William B. 1984. Crossability and relationships of Washoe pine. Madrono. 31(3): 144-170. [21749]
  • 11. Jenkinson, James L. 1980. Improving plantation establishment by optimizing growth capacity and planting time of western yellow pine. Res. Pap. PSW-154. Berkeley, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Forest and Range Experiment Station. 22 p. [17966]

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Life Cycle

Persistence: PERENNIAL, Long-lived

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Pinus washoensis

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Pinus washoensis

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 3
Specimens with Barcodes: 3
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N3 - Vulnerable

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G3 - Vulnerable

Reasons: A rare and local conifer of higher elevations in the Sierra Nevada of California and adjacent Washoe County, Nevada, and eastern Oregon.

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Management

Management considerations

On eastern-slope yellow pine forests of northeastern California, logging
has decreased pines (ponderosa, Jeffrey, and Washoe pines) relative to
white fir and western juniper [14].
  • 14. Laudenslayer, William F., Jr.; Darr, Herman H.; Smith, Sydney. 1989. Historical effects of forest management practices on eastside pine communities in northeastern California. In: Tecle, Aregai; Covington, W. Wallace; Hamre, R. H., technical coordinators. Multiresource management of ponderosa pine forests: Proceedings of the symposium; 1989 November 14-16; Flagstaff, AZ. Gen. Tech. Rep. RM-185. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station: 26-34. [11305]

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Importance to Livestock and Wildlife

More info for the terms: cover, density, shrub, shrubs, snag, succession

The avian species composition of stands containing Washoe pine depends
on the stage of succession. A fire burned 450,000 acres (18,000 ha) of
a yellow pine (Washoe, Jeffrey, and ponderosa pines)-fir forest near
Truckee, California, in 1960. At postfire years 6 to 8, nine species of
birds were unique to the burned areas, six to the unburned area, and 17
were found on both sites. Shrub cover on the burned plot increased from
about 20 percent to over 43 percent from postfire year 6 to 25, and
birds that nest and feed in shrubs increased by over 500 percent.
Throughout the study, bird numbers remained relatively stable in the
unburned forest. On the burned plot, however, primary-cavity nesting
birds declined over time. The decline probably resulted from a decrease
in standing dead trees. Snag density declined from about 65 per acre
(26/ha) in 1966 to less than 12.5 per acre ( less than 5/ha) in 1985 [18].
  • 18. Raphael, Martin G.; Morrison, Michael L.; Yoder-Williams, Michael P. 1987. Breeding bird populations during twenty-five years of postfire succession in the Sierra Nevada. Condor. 89: 614-626. [6873]

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Notes

Comments

Pinus washoensis often occurs in large stands and resembles P . jeffreyi . The number and posture of seed-cone scales fall within the ranges given for P . jeffreyi . The abaxial surface of these scales has a significantly darker pigmentation, however; such a color contrast is not apparent in P . jeffreyi . Forest geneticists have developed hybrids between P . washoensis and related yellow pines, but no natural hybrids have been observed. Some workers regard P . washoensis as closely related to---or even conspecific with--- P . ponderosa .
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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Comments: Maintained as an accepted species in most current works, including Kartesz (1994 checklist and FNA), but has also been classified as a variety of Pinus ponderosa.

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More info for the terms: Pleistocene, natural

The currently accepted scientific name of Washoe pine is Pinus
washoensis
Mason and Stockw. [3,8,9]. There are no recognized
subspecies, varieties, or forms.

Washoe pine origins are uncertain. Haller [29] proposed that Washoe
pine resulted from hybridization between either Pacific ponderosa pine
(P. ponderosa var. ponderosa) and Jeffrey pine (P. jeffreyi) or Pacific
ponderosa pine and Rocky Mountain ponderosa pine (P. ponderosa var.
scopulorum). Mirov [30] dismissed Jeffrey pine as a possible ancestor
on chemical and morphological grounds, suggesting that Washoe pine is a
variety or mutant of ponderosa pine. Critchfield [4] stated that Washoe
pine is a Pleistocene derivative of Rocky Mountain ponderosa pine.
Washoe pine sets more sound seed per cone in artificial crosses with
Rocky Mountain ponderosa pine than in natural intraspecific crosses.
This rare instance of heterosis for seed set in interspecific conifer
hybrids establishes a strong and direct evolutionary relationship
between Washoe pine and the Rocky Mountain ponderosa pine [17].

Washoe pine hybridizes with Pacific ponderosa pine [17,26] and rarely
with Jeffrey pine [4].
  • 9. Hickman, James C., ed. 1993. The Jepson manual: Higher plants of California. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 1400 p. [21992]
  • 3. Critchfield, William B.; Little, Elbert L., Jr. 1966. Geographic distribution of the pines of the world. Misc. Publ. 991. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 97 p. [20314]
  • 4. Critchfield, William B. 1984. Crossability and relationships of Washoe pine. Madrono. 31(3): 144-170. [21749]
  • 8. Griffin, James R.; Critchfield, William B. 1972. The distribution of forest trees in California. Res. Pap. PSW-82. Berkeley, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Forest and Range Experiment Station. 118 p. [1041]
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Common Names

Washoe pine
yellow pine

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