Pinus flexilis Woodland Alliance
Limber pine woodland

USDA Ecological Section Map

Summary Information

  • Primary Life FormTree
  • Elevation2200-3350 m
  • State RarityS3.2
  • Global RarityG5
  • DistributionCAN: AB, BC. USA: CA, CO, ID, MT, ND, NM, NV, OR, UT, WY (NatureServe)
  • Endemic to CaliforniaNo
  • Endemic to California Floristic Province and DesertsNo
  • Date Added1995/11/01

Characteristic Species

Pinus flexilis is dominant in the tree canopy with Abies concolor, Pinus albicaulis, Pinus balfouriana, Pinus contorta ssp. murrayana, Pinus jeffreyi and Pinus longaeva. Shrubs include Artemisia tridentata, Cercocarpus ledifolius, Chrysolepis sempervirens, Chrysothamnus viscidiflorus, Eriogonum umbellatum or Ribes cereum.

Vegetation Layers

Trees < 18 m; canopy is open. Shrubs are infrequent or common. Herbaceous layer is sparse.

Membership Rules

  • Pinus flexilis > 50% relative cover in the tree canopy (Keeler-Wolf et al. 2003b, Klein and Evens 2005).
  • Pinus flexilis > 55% relative cover or > 25% absolute cover in the tree canopy; no tree species with higher cover (Thomas et al. 2004).


Most extensive on upper slopes, crests, ridges, summits, upper high-elevation slopes to timberline. Soils are commonly granitic derived, loose, well drained, and often rocky.

Other Habitat, Alliance and Community Groupings

MCV (1995) Limber pine series
NVCS (2009) Pinus flexilis woodland alliance
Calveg Limber pine, Subalpine conifers
Holland Limber pine forest
Munz Red fir forest
WHR Subalpine conifer
CDFW CA Code 87.160.00

National Vegetation Classification Hierarchy

Formation Class Mesomorphic Tree Vegetation (Forest and Woodland)
Formation Subclass Temperate Forest
Formation Cool Temperate Forest
Division Western North America Cool Temperate Forest
Macro Group Rocky Mountain Subalpine and High Montane Conifer Forest
Group Western Cordilleran xeric subalpine coniferous forest and woodland