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Tree, 12 m tall, about 10 km E of Uruapan, Michoacan [C.J. Earle, 2005.02.13].


Bark on the tree shown above [C.J. Earle, 2005.02.13].


Cone collected from the tree shown above [C.J. Earle, 2005.02.13].


Foliar unit collected from the tree shown above [C.J. Earle, 2005.02.13].


Distribution of Pinus oocarpa (Critchfield and Little 1966).


Sapling about 1.5 m tall near the tree shown above [C.J. Earle, 2005.02.13].


Seedling about 5 cm tall near the tree shown above [C.J. Earle, 2005.02.13].


Nearly pure stand of P. oocarpa along Mex-16 in Sonora [C.J. Earle, 2007.02.07].


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Conservation status

Pinus oocarpa

Schiede ex Schlectendahl 1838

Common names

Pino de colorado, pino de ocote, pino prieto, pino amarillo [Spanish].

Taxonomic notes

Two varieties, oocarpa and trifoliata. Pinus tecunumanii has been placed in synonymy, but is now regarded as a distinct species (Farjon and Styles 1997). Other closely-related species include P. greggii, P. jaliscana, P. patula, P. praetermissa, and P. pringlei, all of which also are native to Mexico.

Pinus oocarpa var. oocarpa syns: Pinus oocarpoides Lindl. ex Loudon 1842, Pinus oocarpa var. oocarpoides (Lindl. ex Loudon) Endlicher 1847; Pinus oocarpa var. manzanoi Martínez 1940 (Farjon 1998).

Pinus oocarpa var. trifoliata Martínez 1948 syn: P. oocarpa forma trifoliata Martínez 1945 (Farjon 1998), P. luzmariae Pérez de la Rosa 1998. I haven't seen much on P. luzmariae; it was described in Spanish and doesn't seem to have been widely recognized. For the time being I'm keeping it as a synonym of P. oocarpa var. trifoliata.


Distribution and Ecology

Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and NW Nicaragua. See also Thompson et al. (1999). Trees reported from Belize (Critchfield and Little 1966, Perry 1991) are now assigned to P. tecunumanii (Farjon and Styles 1997). Var. oocarpa is native throughout the range described, while var. trifoliata is restricted to Honduras and Mexico: Durango, Hidalgo, Jalisco, Michoacan, Oaxaca (Farjon 1998, Conifer Specialist Group 1998).

Hardy to Zone 9 (cold hardiness limit between -6.6°C and -1.1°C) (Bannister and Neuner 2001).

Distribution data from USGS (1999). Points plotted as tree icons represent isolated or approximate locations.

Big tree





In El Salvador, it occurs with Pinus maximinoi on Cerro el Pital in La Palma town and above, at 900-1500 m elevation. While you're there, from 1500-2500 m the forest is mixed with Pinus tecunumanii and Pinus pseudostrobus var. apulcensis, and above 2000 m it is easy to find pure and mixed forests of Pinus ayacahuite (Fernando Tobar email 2008.11.12).

Also in El Salvador, on Cerro Montecristo, there natural forests of Pinus oocarpa var. oocarpa on the lowest peaks, again mixed with Pinus maximinoi. On the highest peaks you can find Pinus pseudostrobus var. pseudostrobus with Pinus tecunumanii. Also, on the highest part of the mountain in Quercus-dominated cloud forests, is the only place in El Salvador where Podocarpus oleifolius grows in the wild (Fernando Tobar email 2008.11.12).


This species is a principal host for the dwarf mistletoe Arceuthobium aureum subsp. petersonii in Oaxaca and Chiapas, and is the sole host of A. hondurense in Honduras (Hawksworth and Wiens 1996).


Conifer Specialist Group. 1998. Pinus luzmariae. (accessed 2006.11.21).

Pérez de la Rosa, J.A. 1998. Promoción de una variedad de pino serotino mexicano a nivel de especie. Bol. Inst. Bot. Univ. Guadalajara 5: 127-135.

Schlechtendahl, D.F.L. von. 1838. Vorlaufige Nachricht uber die Mexicanischen Coniferen. Linnea: ein Journal für die Botanik in ihrem ganzen Unfange 12:486-496. Available:, accessed 2011.03.20.

See also

Cordero, J. and D.H. Boshier (eds.). 2004. Pinus oocarpa Schiede ex Schltdl. Pp. 767-770 in Árboles de Centroamérica. UK: Oxford Forestry Institute (OFI) and Costa Rica: Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza (CATIE). [in Spanish], accessed 2011.02.25.

Dvorak, W.S., E.A. Gutiérrez, L.F. Osorio, G.R. Hodge, and J.T. Brawner. 2000. Pinus oocarpa. Pp. 128-147 in Conservation & Testing of Tropical & Subtropical Forest Tree Species by the CAMCORE Cooperative. Raleigh, NC: College of Natural Resources, NCSU.

Dvorak, W.S. 2003. Pinus oocarpa. Species description in the Tropical Tree Seed Manual. Available (accessed 2007.08.31).

Last Modified 2014-12-12