Pinus coulteri Forest & Woodland Alliance
Coulter pine woodland and forest

USDA Ecological Section Map

Summary Information

  • Primary Life FormTree
  • Elevation700-2000 m
  • State RarityS4
  • Global RarityG4
  • DistributionUSA: CA. Baja California, Mexico (TJM2)
  • Endemic to CaliforniaNo
  • Endemic to California Floristic Province and DesertsYes
  • Date Added1995/11/01

Characteristic Species

Pinus coulteri is dominant or co-dominant in the tree canopy with Calocedrus decurrens, Pinus jeffreyi, Pinus sabiniana, Pseudotsuga macrocarpa, Quercus agrifolia, Quercus chrysolepis, Quercus kelloggii and Quercus wislizeni.

Vegetation Layers

Trees < 30 m; canopy is open to continuous; it may be two tiered. Shrub layer is sparse to continuous. Herbaceous layer is sparse.

Membership Rules

  • Pinus coulteri > 30% relative cover in the tree canopy. Quercus chrysolepis or Q. kelloggii may form a lower tier; stands may have well developed shrub layers (Evens and San 2005, Klein and Evens 2005, Evens et al. 2006).


Steep upper slopes and ridges. Soils vary in fertility, typically are dry, and are on granitic and, more locally, sandstone or serpentine substrates.

Other Habitat, Alliance and Community Groupings

MCV (1995) Coulter pine series, Coulter pine-canyon live oak series
NVCS (2009) Pinus coulteri woodland alliance
Calveg Coulter pine
Holland Coulter pine forest
Munz Mixed evergreen forest
WHR Montane hardwood-conifer
CDFW CA Code 87.090.00

National Vegetation Classification Hierarchy

Formation Class Mesomorphic Tree Vegetation (Forest and Woodland)
Formation Subclass Temperate Forest
Formation Warm Temperate Forest
Division Madrean Forest and Woodland
Macro Group California Forest and Woodland
Group Californian evergreen coniferous forest and woodland