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Tree 18m tall in town of El Salto, Durango [C.J. Earle, 2007.02.10].


Trees about 20 m tall on the lower E slopes of Nevado de Colima, Michoacán [C.J. Earle, 2005.02.14].


Cones collected near Chalma on the road to Cuernavaca [C.J. Earle, 2005.02.12].


070215-08e Saplings of P. devoniana (left) and P. leiophylla (right), the taller ca 8m. Near Patzcuaro, Michoacán [C.J. Earle, 2007.02.15].


Bark on a tree 20 cm in diameter [C.J. Earle, 2005.02.05].


Foliage [C.J. Earle, 2005.02.05].


Stand near Uruapan, Michoacán [Robert Van Pelt, 2005.02].


Distribution of P. leiophylla. The red bars mark the zone of overlap between var. leiophylla to the south and var. chihuahuana to the north. Map based on Critchfield and Little (1966) with varieties demarcated on the basis of Farjon and Styles (1997).


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Conservation status

Pinus leiophylla var. leiophylla

Common names

Ocote blanco.

Taxonomic notes

Synonymy, from Farjon (1998):

See Pinus montezumae for remarks on Roezl's creative approach to pine systematics.


See the description for the species. This variety has more restricted characters as follows: leaves chiefly in fascicles of 5, 0.5-0.9 mm wide, with 4-6 lines of stomata on the abaxial face and 2-3 resin ducts (Farjon and Styles 1997).

Distribution and Ecology

Mexico: Sonora, Chihuahua, Durango, Nayarit, Zacatecas, Jalisco, Michoacán, México, Distrito Federal, Hidalgo, Morelos, Tlaxcala, Puebla, Veracruz, Guerrero, and Oaxaca. From Zacatecas northward it is gradually replaced by var. chihuahuana. It is a common species, found at (1500-)1900-2900(-3300) m elevation in montane to high montane pine and pine-oak forests, normally on deep, well-drained soils. Commonly associated species include Quercus spp., Pinus patula, P. pringlei, P. teocote, P. lawsonii, P. pseudostrobus, P. montezumae, P. douglasiana, P. durangensis, and P. oocarpa. Near the north end of its range, it is found with P. arizonica, P. engelmannii, and P. leiophylla var. chihuahuana. It may also be found with Juniperus spp., Cupressus lusitanica, or Cupressus arizonica (Farjon and Styles 1997).

Big tree





Within its range, this is a common species, occurring at a wide range of elevations and in the company of numerous other pine species. It is common along highway Mex-16 in Sonora from where you first enter the mountains about 80 km E of Hermosillo until the Chihuahua border, by which time it has largely given way to var. chihuahuana. The next major highway crossing the Sierra Madre Occidental is Mex-40 from Durango to Mazatlán, and here a forest of P. cembroides, P. pseudostrobus, and P. leiophylla var. chihuahuana prevails until about where the first P. durangensis appear, and thereafter var. leiophylla is common until you approach the Durango-Sinaloa border, by which time things are warm and wet enough that P. leiophylla gives way to pines like P. montezumae, P. maximinoi and P. lumholtzii. Throw in a few less common pines, Abies durangensis and some rare Juniperus species, and a conifer lover could scarcely do better than to take a few days to travel from Durango to Mazatlán. Farther south, var. leiophylla is very common in Michoacán, on the Nevado de Colima (another conifer hotspot) and in the country between Uruapan and Morelia (yet another), and is also a common species E across the volcanic plateau through México, the D.F. and into Puebla. I have heard a rumor of var. leiophylla growing to heights of 50 m in Parque Nacional Los Leones west of the Distrito Federal, but I have yet to check it out. I also saw it sporadically on highway Mex-175 N of Oaxaca Ciudad.


This species is a principal host for the dwarf mistletoe Arceuthobium nigrum, and is the only common host for A. strictum (Hawksworth and Wiens 1996).


See also

Last Modified 2014-03-29