Species determination by cone

bobfincham(z7WA)August 4, 2012

I am trying to establish if this five needle pine may be a hybrid or a species. The choices are flexilis, strobiformis, or reflexa. Any ideas??

Bob

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pineresin

Pinus reflexa

Resin

    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 3:57PM
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tsugajunkie z5 SE WI

Based on the Resin pix at pinetum.org I'd rule out strobiformis. I tried to link the pix but GW didn't like the url. The cone shape says reflexa but the scales look like flexilis. I'll let the heavyweights decide. How long are the cones?

tj

    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 3:58PM
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tsugajunkie z5 SE WI

There you go...

tj

    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 3:59PM
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bobfincham(z7WA)

Thanks Michael. I figured if anybody would know that you would.

This is the plant that is sold in large numbers as Pinus flexilis 'Vanderwolf's Pyramid'. There was some thought that it might be actually be a hybrid since it performs so well throughout the midwest whereas Pinus flexilis suffers.

Bob

    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 5:18PM
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coniferjoy(z7 The Netherlands)

Since a while it's familiar that the 'Vanderwolf's Pyramid' is a cultivar of Pinus reflexa.
This was discussed before and because of the needle colour and needle length it never could be a cultivar of Pinus flexilis.

That's why the witches' broom found at this cultivar is named Pinus reflexa 'Lil Wolf'...

'Cesarini Blue', 'Extra Blue' and 'Southbridge Variegated' aren't Pinus flexilis cultivars either, they also are Pinus reflexa cultivars.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 7:19PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Seattle area has numbers of these as well as some real P. flexilis in a few public plantings inside Seattle. These latter are much less attractive, clearly distinct. One of the biggest 'Vanderwolf's Pyramid' I have seen is at the quite apparently liberally watered Yakima Area Arboretum (in the interior, semiarid part of WA). But there are a lot of them around. During the 1990s or earlier a sizable bluish pine was measured and listed by Robert Van Pelt as the State Champion limber pine, it was In Des Moines (near Seattle) or vicinity - I saw it once driving by, then some years later, when I went back to get a real look it had disappeared. I would not be surprised if this was also a P. reflexa as well, based on my memory of its general aspect.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 10:08PM
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baxz5oh(5)

So if "Vanderwolf's Pyramid" and "Extra Blue" are both reflexa why can I tie the trunk of the "Extra Blue" into a pretzel knot without damage and not the "Vanderwolf"?

    Bookmark   August 5, 2012 at 7:01AM
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coniferjoy(z7 The Netherlands)

I can also tie the trunk of a 'Vanderwolf's Pyramid' into a pretzel knot without any damage, as long as it is not to thick ;0)
This will say nothing, all that matters are needle size and colour and of coarse the cones...

    Bookmark   August 5, 2012 at 7:17AM
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Sara Malone Zone 9b

Just to make this more confusing, mine was labeled Pinus flexilis 'Vanderwolf'. No pyramid. So as I understand from above, the correct name is Pinus reflexa 'Vanderwolf's Pyramid'? Whatever its name, it is a beautiful specimen.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2012 at 10:02AM
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coniferjoy(z7 The Netherlands)

Yup, 'Vanderwolf's Pyramid' is the correct cultivar name...

    Bookmark   August 5, 2012 at 10:34AM
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Sara Malone Zone 9b

Thx! It's a beauty, especially in winter when the needles appear very blue.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2012 at 10:51AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Expect a full-sized tree. When I saw the Yakima specimen, some years ago now it was already what I figured to be about 40' across. And far from slowing down.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2012 at 1:35PM
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Sara Malone Zone 9b

I gave it lots of room, although was not thinking 40'. Did you really mean 40? Wonder how old that specimen was? I try to plan for those that follow me but am more focused about what will happen while I'm still around.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2012 at 2:07PM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

I was confused by some of the width estimates and after quite a bit of research this plant will likely attain a 15-20' width in 30 years. I still haven't found if the original is still alive and what its size was/is.

Alot of sources actually say this plant "matures" at 15-20' wide. Whatever that means.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2012 at 10:28PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

40' is nothing, that is not far beyond the small tree range - I am sure it will grow much larger. If I remember right Van Pelt had the Des Moines tree down as being 60' tall. In this area the 'Vanderwolf's Pyramid' appears to grow in the vicinity of a foot per year, when not being slowed down by inhibiting circumstances. It being a "pyramid" the top grows broadly after the earlier years, in an open position. Whatever its actual relative dimensions, the Yakima tree gave the general impression of being roughly as wide as tall. 15'-20' wide for a 30-year-old planting seems on the tight side. Commercial sources routinely understate growth potential of tree cultivars, it is easy to find multiple depictions giving silly small dimensions.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2012 at 11:51PM
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Sara Malone Zone 9b

I figured about 25' wide when I planted it. 40' is not out of line for a big tree, but how many years to get there? Now in terms of height, I agree, 40' is nothing. So I think I'm ok. It can get as tall as it wants!

    Bookmark   August 6, 2012 at 12:04AM
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gardener365(5b Illinois USA)

I saw a Vanderwolf's that was an easy 50 feet tall and it was nearly as wide. What I saw was a splayed apart tree with no pyramidal form at that age of its maturity. I would call it very unattractive. bboy, do you concur?

Dax

    Bookmark   August 6, 2012 at 7:20AM
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Sara Malone Zone 9b

Hmmm...does not sound like it is going to mature nicely! I love the foliage and it is well-behaved but I put it in as a #5 and so it's barely taller than I am at this point. They all looked so nice in their pots. The other one that I have with similar color is Pinus wallichiana 'Nana' and it has much softer needles and, one supposes, even if the growth rate is underestimated, will be much smaller. I may reconsider the Vanderwolf's and move it out near the barns where it can have all the room it wants. I consigned the Picea smithiana to a similar spot.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2012 at 11:01AM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

I just got off the phone with one of the owners at Vermeulen nursery. The original plant, which is no longer, was roughly 40 x 15 @ 23 years of age. I mentioned there are obervations of this plant getting 40' wide and she said that doesn't make much sense and said the plant was likely labeled incorrectly. She said it attains fast vertical growth but it stays tight and fairly narrow.

Time to get out the measuring tape or remove those labels.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2012 at 12:46PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Probably a climate or other growing site difference. Otherwise, did they have it planted in the open, where it could develop fully? Whatever the story in that instance, the stock that is on the market out here is always this same, often somewhat open-growing* type with sizable secondary branches that can make it quite spreading - and would presumably account for it being called a "pyramid" in the first place (why did they call it that if it always had a narrow crown?).

Some propagations here are more broad and loose than others, in the usual fashion. I would definitely never count on the tree being narrow, many here are surely doomed to be cut down due to having been planted in spaces that cannot possibly accommodate their later growth. Often sooner than later.

*You can see this in one of Bob's above pictures, even though it is not a habit photo per se

    Bookmark   August 6, 2012 at 6:38PM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

She mentioned they took it down because it was too tall for the location next to the house. That could have limited the spread as you mentioned.

I've seen young broad and loose specimens around here as well. I have two plumpers but they where pruned at the nursery....however after 2 growing seasons they've dropped all needles that it had up until I got it, its the most dense pine I have.

All we can do is report on our observations around the country (world) and go from there.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2012 at 9:21AM
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beng(z6 western MD)

Nice specimen, Bob. Hope my reflexa (which looks happy even in the current heat/humidity) gets cones like that. Maybe later you can post a pic of the seeds -- they're large & edible.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2012 at 1:11PM
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