Pinus pseudostrobus var. apulcensis
Pino. The scientific name, apulcensis, means "from Apulco," the town where it was first collected in 1838 by C.T. Hartweg. Hartweg was busy that year, also collecting the tree that Lindley would name Pinus hartwegii.
You will often see the name P. oaxacana, which is a mellifluous name well suited to this graceful tree of Oaxaca. However, the name P. apulcensis unquestionably has priority due to its earlier publication. A reasonable argument could be made in favor of treating this taxon as a species in its own right, for it may not be particularly closely related to the type of P. pseudostrobus, at least in the context of the fine distinctions that are often drawn between Mexican pines at the species rank. It might also be treated at the subspecies rank, a combination that has not been published. It is also possible that P. nubicola J.P. Perry, which Farjon and Styles (1997) list as a synonym of the type variety of P. pseudostrobus, is more accurately placed as a synonym of var. apulcensis.
As for the species, with the following distinctions: Apophysis variable, prominently raised and partly elongated, especially on one side of the cone and toward the base, transversely keeled, rhombic or pentagonal in outline, upper margin angular, irregularly undulate, or rounded, color in various hues of brown. Umbo dorsal, prominent and/or elongated, 5-15 mm long, 5-10 mm wide at base, without a prickle, usually darker than the apophysis (Farjon and Styles 1997).
Mexico: Chiapas, Guerrero, Hidalgo, Puebla, Tlaxcala, W-C Veracruz, México, Oaxaca, and Veracruz. Also in the Guatemala highlands and N El Salvador. It is most common in Oaxaca, where it is perhaps even more common than var. pseudostrobus. It is often sympatric and occupies much the same habitat but seems absent from the driest locations (Farjon and Styles 1997). Hardy to Zone 9 (cold hardiness limit between -6.6°C and -1.1°C) (Bannister and Neuner 2001).
As the photographs show, there are splendid specimens at the ruins of Monte Alban above the city of Oaxaca. We also found it widely distributed along Mex-175 starting about 20 km N of the city of Oaxaca and continuing sporadically at least to the town of Ixtlan de Juarez. In this area it forms continuous, closed-canopy forests with a variety of pines, prominently including P. lawsoni and P. montezumae.
In El Salvador, it occurs on Cerro el Pita from 1500 to 2500 m elevation, mixed with Pinus tecunumanii (Fernando Tobar email 2008.11.12).
In Oaxaca and Chiapas, this species is a principal host for the dwarf mistletoes Arceuthobium aureum subsp. petersonii and A. nigrum (Hawksworth and Wiens 1996).
Last Modified 2012-11-23