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A tree attaining 100 ft or slightly more in the wild; trunk grey, smooth on young trees, becoming shallowly furrowed and reddish brown with age; terminal buds brown, resinous, about 1⁄2 in. long, the scales with free, acuminate tips. Young branchlets usually covered with a short, brown down. Leaves in fives, very slender, falling the third year, 4 to 7 in. long, three-sided, the outer side green, the two inner surfaces each with three or four white lines of stomata, margins toothed; leaf-sheaths 3⁄4 in. long, soon falling away. Cones 6 to 12 in. long, 1 to 21⁄2 in. wide before expanding, cylindrical, with a tapered, slightly curved apex; they are pendulous, shortly stalked, and borne in twos or threes, or sometimes singly; scales about 1 in. wide, with a blunt, resinous, sometimes reflexed apex, but the basal scales always strongly reflexed. Seeds with a relatively narrow wing 1 in. or even more long, the body of the seed about 3⁄8 in. long.
Native of Guatemala and of southern and central Mexico, from 8,000 to 10,000 ft, in sheltered valleys or on the slopes of the moister mountain ranges, where even in the dry season there is frequent low cloud and drizzle. It was introduced to Britain by Hartweg, who sent cones to the Horticultural Society from Guatemala in 1840. But the existing trees probably all derive from later introductions and some belong to the following variety:
specimens: Kew, pl. 1873, 54 × 31⁄2 ft (1974) and, pl. 1904, 53 × 43⁄4 ft (1972); R.H.S. Garden, Wisley, Surrey, Pinetum, 82 × 8 ft (1983); Dropmore, Bucks., pl. 1912, 88 × 71⁄4 ft (1982); Little Kingsmill Grange, Bucks., in Priestwood (Harewood), pl. 1929, 62 × 53⁄4 ft (1983); Stratford Park, Stroud, Glos., 72 × 63⁄4 ft (1984); Bicton, Devon, 98 × 81⁄2 ft, disbranched to 88 ft (1983) and 69 × 9 ft (1977); Tregrehan, Cornwall, 94 × 63⁄4 ft (1979); Bodnant, Gwyn., pl. 1902, 82 × 111⁄4 ft and 95 × 103⁄4 ft (1984).
[var. brachyptera] – This is certainly a distinct species – P. strobiformis Engelm. It is not confined to Mexico, having a fairly wide range in the mountains of the south-western USA.
P. strobiformis Engelm
P. veitchii Roezl, nom .
P. bonapartea Roezl ex Gard. Chron.
P. loudoniana Gord