Giant Jeffreyii’s

Many of you have seen ponderosa pine but, its higher-and-drier cousin, the Jeffrey Pine, is pretty easily identified. There are some areas where the two species compete with each other but, their “preferred habitats” are different. While ponderosas have a more yellow-green needle color, the Jeffrey is more grey-green. What I like best about the Jeffreys are their oversized limbs. They put a lot more effort into growing these very stout, large diameter limbs. Since Jeffrey “habitat” is more open, with more groundwater, maybe those big limbs are just a way of the tree using up energy not needed for growing so tall and dominant. Of course, the easiest way to tell the two species apart is the old saying; “Gentle Jeffrey, Prickly Ponderosa”, when handling their cones.

Way back in 1987, I was working on the Hat Creek RD off the Lassen NF, and we had a bunch of lightning fires. Three crews from the east came in on buses and as soon as they stepped off the bus, they saw these ancient Jeffrey pines. They stared at them for a while until the mushroom cloud from the big fire we had caught their attention. We had 43 fires burning during those three days of lightning.

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One Comment

  1. I vaguely remember a difference in scents between Ponderosa and Jeffrey when you stick your nose into a sun-warmed bark fissure. Pineapple and vanilla is Jeffrey? One of the free, but exhilarating opportunities in life.

    Can’t remember if I learned that at Girl Scout Camp or U of Cal Forestry. Oh, well.

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