The Pinus Cembroides
is commonly known as Border Pinyon
, Mexican Pinyon
, as well as Papershell Pinyon< Go Back
Mexican pinyon is distributed in the mountains of western Texas,
southwestern New Mexico, and southeastern Arizona [16
A large part of its range occurs in Mexico, extending from the United
States border southward along the Sierra Madre Occidental and Sierra
Madre Oriental into northern Puebla [23
]. Mexican pinyon
also occurs in Baja California Sur [18
Papershell pinyon occurs on the Balcones escarpment of central and
western Texas and extends into northern Mexico [1
The currently accepted scientific name of Mexican pinyon is Pinus
cembroides Zucc. It is a member of the pine family (Pinaceae)
]. Two varieties in addition to the typical variety are
recognized: papershell pinyon (P. c. var. remota Little) and Mexican
pinyon (P. c. var. bicolor Little) [44
There is taxonomic disagreement about P. cembroides in the strict sense.
Bailey and Hawksworth and others have split P. cembroides infrataxa and
raised them to specific status [3
]. Two subspecies (P.
c. ssp. lagunae D. K. Bailey and P. c. ssp. orizabensis D. K. Bailey)
beside the typical subspecies of P. cembroides were recognized; however,
recently each was raised to specific status [3
]. The two varieties,
P. c. var. remota and P. c. var. bicolor, were synonomized to P. remota
(Little) Bailey & Hawksworth and P. discolor Bailey & Hawksworth (border
pinyon), respectively [20
]. All names are currently used in
Bailey and Hawksworth relegated P. c. var. bicolor to synonomy with P.
discolor based on differences in flowering times, bark color, needle
color and number, and two monoterpene compounds [70
]. Variation in
flowering time and needle number throughout the revised range of P.
cembroides is inclusive of P. discolor characters [1
this writeup considers P. cembroides in the broad sense. For readers
who support the realignment, studies concerning United States
populations of P. cembroides may be interpreted as P. discolor [29
Hybrids occur between Mexican pinyon and true pinyon (P. edulis) where
their ranges overlap [29
Mexican pinyon occurs as individual scattered trees in interior
chaparral [11,56,61,74,82] and as occasional to frequent trees in the
Madrean evergreen and encinal woodlands [10,20,36,54,55,67,86]. Mexican
pinyon becomes dominant in the pygmy conifer (Pinus spp.)-oak (Quercus
spp.) scrub [67,84,95,97], pinyon (Pinus spp.)-juniper (Juniperus spp.)
woodlands [14,19,51,58,61,72], and pine (Pinus spp.)-oak woodlands
Mexican pinyon is an important species in Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga
menziesii), Chihuahua pine (Pinus leiophylla var. chihuahuana), and
ponderosa pine (P. ponderosa) series [20,37].
Mexican pinyon is one of the dominant trees in pinyon series [27,49,64].
It is minor in geographical range compared to true pinyon and is
included in the true pinyon series, since Mexican pinyon replaces true
pinyon across limited areas in Arizona and New Mexico [30,63,84]
Mexican pinyon occurs as a minor species in some of the relict Arizona
cypress (Cupressus arizonica) forests that are in upland positions
Some of the publications that list Mexican pinyon as a dominant or
indicator species are:
(1) Preliminary classification for the coniferous forest and woodland
series of Arizona and New Mexico 
(2) A series vegetation classification for Region 3 
(3) Plant communities of Texas (Series level): February 1992 .
Woody species associated with Mexican pinyon but not previously
mentioned in Distribution and Occurrence include Arizona madrone
(Arbutus arizonica), Texas madrone (Arbutus texana), western white
honeysuckle (Lonicera albiflora), and Madrean mockorange (Philadelphus
< Go Back
Much of the information presented here is attributed to:
Pavek, Diane S. 1994. Pinus cembroides. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online].
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service,
Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available at USDA Forest Service.