The Gymnosperm Database


Tree (Shaw 1909).


Foliar unit [C.J. Earle, 2007.02.16].


Bark on two different 80 cm diameter trees [C.J. Earle, 2007.02.16 and 17].


Tree at 21.12585°N, 99.67382°W near Pinal del Amoles in Queretaro [C.J. Earle, 2007.02.17].


Mature tree 16 m tall near the village of San Miguel (20.9076°N, 99.5864°W) [C.J. Earle, 2007.02.16].


Detail of the tree above, showing the small dark cones that are retained in the crown [C.J. Earle, 2007.02.16].


A group of fallen cones [C.J. Earle, 2007.02.16].


Ornamental trees 10-11 m tall [C.J. Earle, 2007.02.16].


Representative foliar units [C.J. Earle, 2007.02.16].


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Conservation status

Pinus teocote

Schiede ex Schlechtendal et Chamisso 1830

Common names

Teocotl [Nahuatl]. A common Mexican Spanish name for pines in general, ocote, is derived from this name. English names include Aztec pine (hort.) and teocote pine.

Taxonomic notes

One of about 23 species in subsection Australes. The type specimen was collected by Schiede and Deppe on the slopes of Pico de Orizaba, Mexico's highest peak.


Evergreen trees to 25 m tall and 75 cm dbh, usually with a single, fairly straight trunk and a pyramidal to rounded crown of horizontally spreading branches with slightly drooping terminal foliar units. Bark dark gray-brown, rough, scaly, thick, longitudinally fissured. Twigs smooth, orange-brown. Leaves in fascicles of 3 with a persistent sheath initially 20 mm long, wearing down over time, light green, persisting 2-3 years, slightly stiff (not drooping), straight or slightly curved, 1-1.4 mm thick, 10-15 cm long, sharp-pointed, with stomata on all faces. Pollen cones ovoid-oblong, 5 × 10-18 mm, yellow-green. Seed cones numerous, remaining several years after maturity, ovoid with a broad, flattened base when open, variably asymmetrical, 4-6 × 2-2.5 cm when open. Seed scales woody, thick, with a more or less flat light brown apophysis and dorsal, blunt pyramidal umbo with a tiny, deciduous prickle. Seeds dark brown, 3-5 mm long with a translucent 12-18 mm wing (Farjon 2010, pers. obs. in field).

Distribution and Ecology

Mexico: Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo Leon, Tamaulipas, Sinaloa, Durango, Zacatecas, San Luis Potosi, Nayarit, Aguascalientes, Jalisco, Guanajuato, Queretaro, Hidalgo, Michoacan, Mexico, Distrito Federal, Tlaxcala, Puebla, Veracruz, Guerrero, Oaxaca, Chiapas; Guatemala (Farjon and Styles 1997). As such it is one of the most widespread Central American pines. Hardy to Zone 8 (cold hardiness limit between -12.1°C and -6.7°C) (Bannister and Neuner 2001). See also Thompson et al. (1999).

Distribution data from USGS (1999). Points represent isolated or approximate locations.

Occurs at 1000-3300 m elevation, often on thin and sometimes calcareous soils, usually with 500-1000 mm annual precipitation, frost uncommon. With its extensive range, it occurs in quite a variety of habitats, but usually with Quercus spp. in woodland or open forest, and with a variety of pines such as P. arizonica, P. engelmannii, P. durangensis, P. leiophylla, P. montezumae, P. oocarpa, and P. patula (Farjon 2010).

Big tree





Although this species is in principle widely distributed, I have found it to be uncommon in much of its range, becoming a dominant forest component only on the Transverse Volcanic Plateau and north of there along the Sierra Madre Oriental. It can be found easily near the town of San Miguel in San Luis Potosí (see photos at right), where it grows in the company of fine examples of Pinus montezumae and P. greggii var australis (the latter being very limited in its distribution).


This species is a principal host for the dwarf mistletoes Arceuthobium globosum subsp. grandicaule (in southern Mexico), Arceuthobium rubrum (in Durango and Sinaloa), and A. nigrum, the latter having been described from a collection on this species 51 km E of El Salto on highway 40, the Durango-Mazatlan highway (Hawksworth and Wiens 1996). See the "Remarks" in Abies durangensis for a relevant story.


See also

Perry (1991).

Last Modified 2017-12-29