Pinus patula (Mexican weeping pine)
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PicturesTop of page
IdentityTop of page
Preferred Scientific Name
- Pinus patula Schiede ex Schltdl. & Cham.
Preferred Common Name
- Mexican weeping pine
- Pinus patula var. longipedunculata Loock ex Martínez
- Pinus patula var. patula
Other Scientific Names
- Pinus patula var. macrocarpa M. T. Masters
International Common Names
- English: patula pine; spreading-leaved pine
- Spanish: ocote; pino chino; pino patula
- French: pin argente
Local Common Names
- Brazil: pinheiro
- Germany: Kiefer, Ausgebreitete; Kiefer, Mexikanische
- Mexico: ocote
- PIUPT (Pinus patula)
Summary of InvasivenessTop of page
P. patula is a medium-size tree (usually to 20 m tall) native to eastern Mexico. It is the most important pine species in southern and East Africa (Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania and Uganda) and is commercially planted in South America (Colombia, southern Brazil, Argentina) and, to a limited extent, in Asia (Nepal and India). The major problem of P. patula is its aggressiveness and weediness. Introduced P. patula has been found to be associated with invasion events in Hawaii (USA), South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Malawi (Haysom and Murphy, 2003) and Madagascar and New Zealand (Richardson and Rejmánek, 2004a). It is an invasive species of both fire-climax grasslands and woodland in exotic situations where climatic conditions are close to those found in its natural range.
Taxonomic TreeTop of page
- Domain: Eukaryota
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Phylum: Spermatophyta
- Subphylum: Gymnospermae
- Class: Pinopsida
- Family: Pinaceae
- Genus: Pinus
- Species: Pinus patula
Notes on Taxonomy and NomenclatureTop of page
The genus Pinus, with over 100 species, is a taxon found almost exclusively in the northern hemisphere. The taxon is also notable among the Coniferae because it has its greatest diversity in Mexico and the western USA, rather than in China and Japan where most of the diversity of the remainder of the family Pinaceae is concentrated (Farjon, 1998).
DescriptionTop of page
Habit and size
In its native range, P. patula is said to be a graceful tree, height 12-20 (30 m or occasionally to 30-40 m) with d.b.h. up to 120 cm. In plantations outside its native range, tree heights of between 35 and 50 m have been recorded, at ages ranging from 20 years to 50 years (Loock, 1950; Styles et al., 1975).
The crown shape usually depends on both spacing as well as inherent variability of the trees. Open grown trees tend to have spreading crowns while closely spaced trees tend to have narrow crowns with good suppression of lower branches which subsequently die. Some trees will still have deep narrow crowns even when growing in the open. Although branching is said to be irregularly placed on the stem (Loock, 1950), in exotic environments branching tends to be regular with on average four branches per whorl, but the distance between whorls is variable. Foxtailing occasionally occurs but the majority of trees tend to be multi nodal with average distance between whorls of about 0.4 m. Within the native distribution range, branches have been reported to be pendent whereas in exotic environments, particularly Africa, the branches are borne at an angle above the horizontal. Branch size is very variable from fine branching to very thick branches.
Stem form in P. patula is also very variable. Although atrociously crooked trees can be found in this species, stem form is generally moderate to good. Good specimen trees with straight cylindrical stems that retain apical dominance to the age of 30 years or more are quite common. Common defects include forking, sometimes caused by mechanical damage such as bird perching, butt sweep, bow, sinuosity and nodal swellings; such stem features are usually found in trees growing in warm lower altitude environments.
Bark is thick, rough and scaly with large elongated plates and deep, longitudinal fissures especially on the lower part of the bole, bark colour is dark grey-brown on lower trunk, and higher up and on younger trees bark is reddish-brown or orange, thin and papery (Vidakovic, 1991). The age at which mature bark appears is not yet known, but appears to vary with site. Some trees have been observed to develop completely smooth bark at lower, drier altitudes.
The crown may be rounded or spire-like with needles borne on pendent secondary branches. Branching may be from the ground. Young shoots are more noded, glaucous green, becoming reddish-brown in the second year.
Buds cylindrical, 15-25 mm long, covered with long pointed, fringed scales, which are not resinous and spreading at the tips. Needles are borne in fascicles of 4 (may be 3 or 5), in drooping or spreading tufts, 15 to 30 cm long, very thin, and of a shiny light to yellowish-green in colour. Stomata lines on all needle surfaces; resin ducts 2-3, usually medial, sheaths slender, persistent, 10-25 mm long. Needles may persist for two to three years.
Inflorescences, flowers and fruit
Flowering in P. patula varies from site to site. In its native range, pollen shedding begins in January and lasts until April and wide tree to tree variation is observed. In Malawi, Zimbabwe and South Africa, flowering (both male and female flowers) occurs in spring, i.e., August to October. A secondary flush of only female flowers usually occurs earlier in the year (Barnes and Mullin, 1974; Drew, 1969). In Kenya which is very close to the equator, two flushes of both flowers occur coinciding with the two rainy seasons (April-May and October-November). Female flowers have also been recorded throughout the year. In Zimbabwe, studies showed that synchronisation of pollen shedding with female receptivity is good at altitude 1500 m, whereas pollen rain became progressively later at lower altitudes.
Conelets are usually lateral, rarely subterminal, persistent, somewhat oblong, ovate-conical, curved, oblique at base, tapering towards apex, sessile, rarely subsessile, single or in clusters of 2-5, up to 10 or even more. Cone size 4-9 cm long, pale brown, hard, strong, scales oblong with raised apophyses on which there is a minute prickle. Seed triangular, grey mottled with black, 5 mm long, wing 12-18 mm long (Vidakovic, 1991; Loock, 1950).
Observations on lack of natural regeneration at lower altitudes in Zimbabwe appear to indicate that at lower altitudes seed is probably empty (infertile); at higher altitudes natural regeneration occurs. Cones, which usually take two years to mature, are harvested in September-October.
P. patula flowers as early as age 2 years with female flowers appearing first and male flowers appearing in the fourth year. Five-year old trees produce viable seeds and cone and seed production is prolific by the eighth to the tenth-year.
DistributionTop of page
The natural range of distribution of Pinus patula is entirely confined to Mexico. The two known varieties of this species are P. patula var. patula and P. patula var. longipedunculata.
P. patula introductions have been planted in both the cool and wet tropical and subtropical regions of the world. In tropical regions the introductions are mostly at altitudes above 2000 m where conditions for optimum growth of this species are found. In the subtropical regions, the species has been planted in wetter but slightly lower altitudes of about 900 m. Overall P. patula is now grown from the equator (in Colombia) to as far as latitude 42 degrees South in New Zealand (Styles et al., 1975).
Distribution TableTop of page
The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.Last updated: 17 Dec 2021
|Continent/Country/Region||Distribution||Last Reported||Origin||First Reported||Invasive||Planted||Reference||Notes|
|Congo, Democratic Republic of the||Present||Planted|
|United States||Present||Present based on regional distribution.|
|-New South Wales||Present||Planted|
|Papua New Guinea||Present||Planted|
Latitude/Altitude RangesTop of page
|Latitude North (°N)||Latitude South (°S)||Altitude Lower (m)||Altitude Upper (m)|
Air TemperatureTop of page
|Parameter||Lower limit||Upper limit|
|Absolute minimum temperature (ºC)||-10|
|Mean annual temperature (ºC)||9||23|
|Mean maximum temperature of hottest month (ºC)||15||28|
|Mean minimum temperature of coldest month (ºC)||6||14|
RainfallTop of page
|Parameter||Lower limit||Upper limit||Description|
|Dry season duration||0||4||number of consecutive months with <40 mm rainfall|
|Mean annual rainfall||1000||2200||mm; lower/upper limits|
Rainfall RegimeTop of page
Soil TolerancesTop of page
Special soil tolerances
Uses ListTop of page
- Erosion control or dune stabilization
- Shade and shelter
- Carved material
- Miscellaneous materials
Wood ProductsTop of page
- Long-fibre pulp
- Transmission poles
Sawn or hewn building timbers
- Carpentry/joinery (exterior/interior)
- For heavy construction
- For light construction
- Wall panelling
- Laminated veneer lumber
- Laminated wood
- Wood cement
- Industrial and domestic woodware
- Tool handles
ReferencesTop of page
Barnes RD, 1973. The genetic improvement of Pinus patula Schiede & Deppe in Rhodesia. Unpublished Ph.D. thesis. University of London
Barnes RD, 1977. Population improvement through selection and hybridization in Pinus patula, P. elliottii and P. taeda in southern Africa. In: Third World Consultation on Forest Tree Breeding. Canberra, Australia, 21-26 March 1977, 489-505
Barnes RD, Boeijink DE, van Broekhuizen JTM, Brix H, Girouard RM, Hong SO, Kiang YT, Rogers OM, Pike RB, Wunder WG, 1974. Special issue on vegetative propagation. Part 1. Techniques of vegetative propagation of conifers. New Zealand Journal of Forestry Science, 4(2):120-166; many ref
Barnes RD, Mullin LJ, 1974. Flowering phenology and productivity in clonal seed orchards of Pinus patula, P. elliottii, P. taeda and P. kesiya in Rhodesia. Forest Research Paper, Research Division, Rhodesia Forestry Commission, No.3, 81 pp.; 26 ref
Barnes RD, Mullin, 1984. Pinus patula provenance trials in Zimbabwe: seven-year results. In: Barnes RD, Gibson GL, eds Provenance and genetic improvement strategies in tropical forest trees. Proceedings of a Joint Work Conference of IUFRO Working parties S2.02-08, S2.03-01, S2.03-13, held in Mutare, Zimbabwe, 9-14 April 1984, 151-152
Cibrián Tovar D, Méndez Montiel JT, Campos Bolaños R, Yates III HO, Flores Lara JE, 1995. Forest Insects of Mexico. Chapingo, México: Universidad Autonoma Chapingo. Subsecretaria Forestal y de Fauna Silvestre de la Secretaria de Agricultura y Recursos Hidraulicos, México. United States Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, USA. Natural Resources Canada, Canada. North American Forestry Commission, FAO, Publication 6
CSIR, 1986. The 8 most important pine species in South Africa. National Timber Research Institute, CSIR, Pretoria, RSA. Report X HOUT 1
Denison NP, 1973. Variation in families of patula pine grown at two grown at two locations in the Republic of South Africa. MS thesis, North Carolina State University
Duraflora ET, 1993. Susceptibilidade de toras de pinheiros tropicais ao ataque da vespa-da-madeira Sirex noctilio (Hymenoptera: Siricidae). In: Conferencia Regional da Vespa da Madeira, Sirex noctilio, na America do Sul. EMBRAPA, Colombo, PR, Brasil (In Portuguese with English and Spanish abstracts), pp. 97-109
FAO, 1986. Forestry Resources Division Databook on endangered tree and shrub species and provenances. FAO Forestry Paper No. 77
Farjon A, 1998. World checklist and bibliography of conifers. Kew, UK: The Royal Botanical Gardens
Farjon A, 1998. World checklist and bibliography of conifers. Richmond, UK; Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew: v + 298 pp
Farjon A, 1999. Introduction to the conifers. Curtis's Botanical Magazine, 16(3): 158-172
Farjon A, de la Rosa JAP, Styles BT, 1997. A field guide to the pines of Mexico and Central America. A field guide to the pines of Mexico and Central America., 147 pp.; [Produced in association with the Oxford Forestry Institute, University of Oxford, under project number R5465 of the UK Overseas Development Administration (ODA) Forestry Research Programme]; 10 ref
Hawksworth FG, Wiens D, 1996. Dwarf Mistletoes: Biology, Pathology, and Systematics. Agriculture Handbook 709. Washington DC, USA: United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service
Haysom K, Murphy S, 2003. The status of invasiveness of forest tree species outside their natural habitat: a global review and discussion paper. Rome, Italy: FAO. http://www.fao.org/DOCREP/006/J1583E/J1583E00.htm
Keeley JE, Zedler PH, 1998. Evolution of life histories in Pinus. In: Richardson, D.M. (editor), Ecology and biogeography of Pinus. Cambridge University Press, pp. 219-250
Ladrach WE, 1987. Growth and heritability patterns after seven years of a progeny test of open-pollinated Pinus patula in Colombia. [Crecimiento y patrones de heredabilidad para un ensayo de progenie de Pinus patula de polinizacion abierta al finalizar los siete anos.] Research Report, Investigacion Forestal, Carton de Colombia, No. 115, 16 pp.; 14 ref
Lemma B, 2012. Soil chemical properties and nutritional status of trees in pure and mixed-species stands in south Ethiopia. Journal of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science, 175(5):769-774. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1002/(ISSN)1522-2624
Loock EEM, 1950. The Pines of Mexico and British Honduras: a report on a reconnaissance of Mexico and British Honduras during 1947. Bulletin, Department of Forestry South Africa, No. 35. Pretoria. Government Printers. pp. 244 + 4 maps. 15 refs
Mitchell RG, Coutinho TA, Steenkamp E, Herbert M, Wingfield MJ, 2012. Future outlook for Pinus patula in South Africa in the presence of the pitch canker fungus (Fusarium circinatum). Southern Forests: a Journal of Forest Science, 74(4):203-210. http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/tsfs20
Mohareb A, Sirmah P, Pétrissans M, Gérardin P, 2012. Effect of heat treatment intensity on wood chemical composition and decay durability of Pinus patula. European Journal of Wood and Wood Products, 70(4):519-524. http://www.springerlink.com/content/21312711738q733j/
Murphy ST, Nair KSS, Sharma JK, 1996. Status and impact of invasive conifer aphid pests in Africa. In: Varma RV, ed. Impact of diseases and insect pests in tropical forests. Proceedings of the IUFRO Symposium, Peechi, India, 23-26 November 1993. Peechi, India: Kerala Forest Research Institute (KFRI), 289-297
Nyoka BI, Birks JS, Gumbie CM, 1994. Pinus patula progeny test: heritability estimates and genetic correlations between fifth- and eighth-year traits. South African Forestry Journal, No. 168: 23-26; 7 ref
Paudel KC, Amatya SM, Harrison A, 1996. Provenance trial of Pinus maximinoi and comparison with Pinus wallichiana and Pinus patula. Working Pape No. 96-38. Pokhara (Kaski District), Nepal: Lumle Regional Agricultural Research Centre
Poynton RJ, 1977. Report to the Southern African Regional Commission for the Conservation and Utilisation of the Soil (SARCCUS) on Tree planting in southern Africa, Vol. 1, The Pines. Department of Forestry, Republic of South Africa
Reddy MS, Natarajan K, 1997. Coinoculation efficacy of ectomycorrhizal fungi on Pinus patula seedlings in a nursery. Mycorrhiza, 7: 3, 133-138
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Salaya-Domínguez JM, López-Upton J, Vargas-Hernández JJ, 2012. Genetic and environment variation in two progeny tests of Pinus patula. (Variación genética y ambiental en dos ensayos de progenies de Pinus patula.) Agrociencia (Montecillo), 46(5):519-534. http://www.colpos.mx/agrocien/agrociencia.htm
Scott DF, Lesch W, 1997. Streamflow responses to afforestation with Eucalyptus grandis and Pinus patula and to felling in the Mokobulaan experimental catchments, South Africa. Journal of Hydrology (Amsterdam), 199(3/4):360-377; 24 ref
Soerianegara I, Lemmens RHMJ, eds. , 1993. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No. 5(1). Timber trees: major commercial timbers. Wageningen, Netherlands: Pudoc Scientific Publishers. Also published by PROSEA Foundation, Bogor, Indonesia. pp. 610
TPCP, 2002. Pitch Canker. FABI. Tree Pathology Cooperative Programme. http://www.up.ac.za/academic/fabitpcp/pamphlets/pdf/pitchcanker.pdf
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Haysom K, Murphy S, 2003. The status of invasiveness of forest tree species outside their natural habitat: a global review and discussion paper. In: The status of invasiveness of forest tree species outside their natural habitat: a global review and discussion paper, Rome, Italy: FAO. http://www.fao.org/DOCREP/006/J1583E/J1583E00.htm#TopOfPage
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Witt A, Luke Q, 2017. Guide to the naturalized and invasive plants of Eastern Africa. [ed. by Witt A, Luke Q]. Wallingford, UK: CABI. vi + 601 pp. http://www.cabi.org/cabebooks/ebook/20173158959 DOI:10.1079/9781786392145.0000
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