Pinus longaeva Woodland Alliance
Bristlecone pine woodland

USDA Ecological Section Map

Summary Information

  • Primary Life FormTree
  • Elevation2600-3600 m
  • State RarityS2.3
  • Global RarityG4
  • DistributionUSA: CA, NV, UT (NatureServe)
  • Endemic to CaliforniaNo
  • Endemic to California Floristic Province and DesertsNo
  • Date Added1995/11/01

Characteristic Species

Pinus longaeva is dominant or co-dominant in the tree canopy with Pinus flexilis. Shrubs include Acer glabrum, Artemisia dracunculus, Artemisia tridentata, Cercocarpus intricatus, Cercocarpus ledifolius, Chrysothamnus viscidiflorus, Ericameria discoidea, Ribes cereum or Ribes montigenum.

Vegetation Layers

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

Membership Rules

  • Pinus longaeva > 55% relative cover and > 25% absolute cover in the tree canopy (Thomas et al. 2004).
  • Pinus longaeva > 50% relative cover in the tree canopy or > 33% relative cover with Pinus flexilis (Evens et al. 2014).


All slopes, especially ridges and upper slopes at and below the forest line. Soils are nutrient deficient and derived from dolomite, granite, and limestone.

Other Habitat, Alliance and Community Groupings

MCV (1995) Bristlecone pine series
NVCS (2009) Pinus longaeva woodland alliance, Pinus longaeva-Pinus flexilis woodland alliance
Calveg Bristlecone pine
Holland Bristlecone pine forest
Munz Bristle-cone pine forest
WHR Subalpine conifer
CDFW CA Code 87.140.00

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