Common tree in lower elevation woodland areas. Some plants can grow up to 70 feet tall, most average 30-40 feet.
Habitat: Pinyon-Juniper Woodlands above 5,000 feet in elevation.
At the El Paso Zoo: Along the pathway in the Chihuahuan Desert Exhibit.
Mexican pinyon pines are able to survive in much drier climates than most pine trees. They are the dominant tree over 75,000 square miles of woodland in the Southwest US. Pinyon pine nuts are widely used for human consumption. In the Chihuahuan Desert the nuts are important as food for many species of wildlife including Mexican Jays and black bears. The Zoo supports conservation efforts to protect transboundary habitats along the US Mexico border in many areas dominated by pinyon pine. In 2016 we sent a staff member to a Hands Across Borders International Workshop on Transboundary Conservation where we networked and collaborated with leaders from 28 transboundary conservation initiatives located on six different continents.
Photos by Rick LoBello