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Piñon Pine, Pinus monophylla, is a shrubby pine which is common to many cold, dry areas, such as the high elevation deserts and dry mountains of Western North America. Their habitat is generally mountainous areas of the Great Basin and other desert mountains. Piñon Pine is often seen in association with sagebrush and juniper. It is distinguished by its shrubby form, its small cones, and its pale needles, one to a 'bundle' (most pines have 3-5) They usually grow to about 20 feet high and wide.. a few old ones may be quite a bit larger. Out in Bishop we used to camp under a huge one, we could fit like 6 people under it and it kept in a lot of heat since the needles were so thick. On the other hand, it did drip a lot of pitch on us.

Piñon pines arent useful for timber... they are too small and twisted. But they have been used for firewood in the past. Also, most pine nuts you find at your local store or italian restaraunt come from these pines (in the US). And of course, they are valued for their scenic value and ability to grow where few other trees can. I havent seen them much as landscape trees, just because no one really lives where they grow. If you live out in the cold desert you could try planting one, but they grow quite slowly.

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