Fire Effects Information System (FEIS)
FEIS Home Page

Index of Species Information

SPECIES:  Pinus ponderosa var. washoensis

Introductory


AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION : Esser, Lora L. 1993. Pinus ponderosa var. washoensis. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: https://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/tree/pinponw/all.html []. Revisions : On 30 July 2015, the scientific name of this entity was changed from: Pinus washoensis to: Pinus ponderosa var. washoensis Supporting citations [24,31] were also added. ABBREVIATION : PINPONW SYNONYMS : Pinus washoensis Mason and Stockw. [3,8,9] NRCS PLANT CODE [24] : PIPOW2 COMMON NAMES : Washoe pine yellow pine TAXONOMY : The scientific name of Washoe pine is Pinus ponderosa Lawson & C. Lawson var. washoensis (H. Mason & Stockw.) J.R. Haller & Vivrette (Pinaceae) [24,31]. Varieties of ponderosa pine are are distinguished by genetics, morphology, and geographical location. They include [66,85]: Pinus ponderosa var. benthamiana (Hartw.) Vasey, Pacific ponderosa pine Pinus ponderosa var. brachyptera (Engelm.) Lemmon, southwestern ponderosa pine Pinus ponderosa var. ponderosa C. Lawson, Columbia ponderosa pine Pinus ponderosa var. scopulorum Englm., Rocky Mountain ponderosa pine Pinus ponderosa var. washoensis (H. Mason & Stockw.) J.R. Haller & Vivrette, Washoe pine Follow the links above to other FEIS reviews of the varieties of ponderosa pine. Washoe pine origins are uncertain. Haller [29] proposed that Washoe pine resulted from hybridization between either Pacific ponderosa pine and Jeffrey pine (P. jeffreyi) or Pacific ponderosa pine and Rocky Mountain ponderosa pine. Mirov [30] dismissed Jeffrey pine as a possible ancestor on chemical and morphological grounds, suggesting that Washoe pine is a variety or mutant of ponderosa pine. Critchfield [4] stated that Washoe pine is a Pleistocene derivative of Rocky Mountain ponderosa pine. Washoe pine sets more sound seed per cone in artificial crosses with Rocky Mountain ponderosa pine than in natural crosses with itself. This rare instance of better seed set in ponderosa pine hybrids than in parent varieties establishes a strong and direct evolutionary relationship between Washoe pine and Rocky Mountain ponderosa pine [17]. Washoe pine hybridizes naturally with Pacific ponderosa pine [17,26] and rarely, with Jeffrey pine [4]. LIFE FORM : Tree FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS : No special status OTHER STATUS : NO-ENTRY


DISTRIBUTION AND OCCURRENCE

SPECIES: Pinus ponderosa var. washoensis
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION : Washoe pine occurs in three mountain ranges on the western rim of the Great Basin in northeastern California and northwestern Nevada [3,4,17]. It occupies a few square miles on the east slopes of Mount Rose, Nevada, and can be found in small stands in the southern Warner Mountains and in the Bald Mountain range of northeastern California [3,4]. Isolated stands have been reported in Oregon and British Columbia [4,16].
Washoe pine distribution. Map from PLANTS: Map courtesy of USDA, NRCS. 2015. The PLANTS Database. National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC. (3 December 2015) [124].
ECOSYSTEMS : 
   FRES21  Ponderosa pine
   FRES23  Fir - spruce
   FRES26  Lodgepole pine

STATES : 
     CA  NV  OR  BC

BLM PHYSIOGRAPHIC REGIONS : 
    4  Sierra Mountains
    5  Columbia Plateau

KUCHLER PLANT ASSOCIATIONS : 
   K005  Mixed conifer forest
   K007  Red fir forest
   K008  Lodgepole pine - subalpine forest

SAF COVER TYPES : 
   207  Red fir
   208  Whitebark pine
   211  White fir
   218  Lodgepole pine
   237  Interior ponderosa pine
   238  Western juniper
   243  Sierra Nevada mixed conifer
   247  Jeffrey pine

SRM (RANGELAND) COVER TYPES : 
   107 Western juniper/big sagebrush/bluebunch wheatgrass
   109 Ponderosa pine shrubland

HABITAT TYPES AND PLANT COMMUNITIES : 
Washoe pine typically occurs in pure stands at high elevations along
the northeastern slope of the Sierra Nevada.  In the northern Sierra Nevada
and into the southern Cascade Range, it forms mixed stands with Jeffrey
pine, Pacific ponderosa pine, incense-cedar (Calocedrus decurrens),
white fir (Abies concolor), California red fir (A. magnifica), and
western juniper (Juniperus occidentalis) [4,10,14,16,21].  Other common
tree associates include sugar pine (Pinus lambertiana) and quaking aspen
(Populus tremuloides var. aurea).  Other associates include mountain
sweetroot (Osmorhiza chilensis), white hawkweed (Hieracium albiflorum),
Idaho fescue (Festuca idahoensis), Wheeler bluegrass (Poa nervosa), and 
Orcutt's brome (Bromus orcuttianus), greenleaf manzanita (Arctostaphylos 
patula), mountain big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata subsp. vaseyana), 
ntelope bitterbrush (Purshia tridentata), snowbrush ceanothus (Ceanothus 
velutinus), wooly wyethia (Wyethia mollis), and Utah snowberry 
(Symphoricarpos var. utahensis) [1,10,14,18,20,21].

Vegetation classifications listing Washoe pine as a dominant species are:

Preliminary descriptions of the terrestrial natural communities of
   California  [10]
Symposium Proceedings--plant communities of southern California [13]
Forest habitat types of the South Warner Mountains, Modoc County,
   California [20]
Montane and subalpine vegetation of the Sierra Nevada and Cascade Ranges
   [21].  

MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS

SPECIES: Pinus ponderosa var. washoensis
IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE : Washoe pine provides important bird habitat. The avian species composition of stands containing Washoe pine depends on the stage of succession. A fire burned 450,000 acres (18,000 ha) of a yellow pine (Washoe, Jeffrey, and ponderosa pines)-fir forest near Truckee, California, in 1960. In postfire years 6 to 8, nine species of birds were unique to the burned areas, six to the unburned area, and 17 were found on both sites. Shrub cover on the burned plot increased from about 20% to over 43% from postfire years 6 to 25, and birds that nest and feed in shrubs increased by over 500%. Throughout the study, bird numbers remained relatively stable in the unburned forest. On the burned plot, however, primary cavity-nesting birds declined over time. The decline probably resulted from a decrease in standing dead trees. Snag density declined from about 65 per acre (26/ha) in 1966 to less than 12.5 per acre (5/ha) in 1985 [18]. PALATABILITY : NO-ENTRY NUTRITIONAL VALUE : NO-ENTRY COVER VALUE : NO-ENTRY VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES : NO-ENTRY OTHER USES AND VALUES : NO-ENTRY OTHER MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : NO-ENTRY

BOTANICAL AND ECOLOGICAL CHARACTERISTICS

SPECIES: Pinus ponderosa var. washoensis
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS : Washoe pine is a native conifer which grows up to 115 feet (35 m) tall and 5 feet (1.5 m) in diameter. It has a conic or flat-topped crown [9]. The short, stout needles occur in bundles of three and are 4 to 6 inches (10-15 cm) long [4]. The seed cones are 2 to 3.2 inches (5-8 cm) long and have short-winged seeds [4]. The bark is thick and shallowly furrowed [9]. The oldest known Washoe pine is on Mount Rose, Nevada. Its estimated age in 1962 exceeded 300 years. Several other trees in the area have estimated ages of 100 to 250 years [4]. RAUNKIAER LIFE FORM : Phanerophyte REGENERATION PROCESSES : Literature specific to Washoe pine regeneration is sparse. In the Mount Rose population, Washoe pine exhibits low seed production and has low reproductive capacity [4,17]. SITE CHARACTERISTICS : Washoe pine is common on broad ridgetops and north-facing slopes [18,20]. It may occur on other aspects; on volcanic ridges south of the Warner Wilderness area, it comprises 50% to 75% of total stocking on gentle west- and southwest-facing slopes [21]. Best growth occurs on well-drained soils [9]. Washoe pine occurs from 5,500 to 8,500 feet (1,650-2,550 m) elevation [4,9,10]. An isolated population in British Columbia, Canada, occurs at 4,818 feet elevation (1,460 m) [4]. SUCCESSIONAL STATUS : Washoe pine is a long-lived seral species in white fir communities [20]. It is plentiful in those communities, with cover often equaling or exceeding white fir. Fir reproduction usually exceeds that of Washoe pine, however, unless fires are fairly frequent [20]. Washoe pine is dominant at high elevations [14,20]. SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT : Washoe pine pollen is shed from June 24 to July 4 on Mount Rose [4]. Cones mature in August and September and open in September throughout its range [27]. Natural seedling dormancy begins when soil temperature is below 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 deg C) [11]. In the nursery, Washoe pine seedlings cease visible top growth by mid-October and visible root growth by late November. In January, top growth is evident. The first traces of renewed root growth appear in late February and bud swell begins in late March [11].

FIRE ECOLOGY

SPECIES: Pinus ponderosa var. washoensis
FIRE ECOLOGY OR ADAPTATIONS : Before settlement, eastern-slope yellow pine communities of northeastern California generally consisted of either monotypic stands or mixtures of Washoe, Pacific ponderosa, and Jeffrey pines. Structurally, eastside pine forests usually consisted of widely scattered, large trees. Low-severity fires were frequent, but forests had occasional stand-replacing fires [14,28]. Canopy closures probably ranged from about 30% on dry sites to 80% in the most productive areas. A 1917 report stated that yellow pines of the area were often only four-log trees (a standard log was 16 feet long), suggesting that mature trees were <100 feet (30 m) [14]. Susceptibility to fire in mid-elevation Washoe pine stands has increased since 1850 because of fuel buildups and increased stocking of white fir. Juniper and shrub cover have replaced the typical shrub/grass understory at low elevations as a result of livestock grazing and fire exclusion [14]. FIRE REGIMES : Find fire regime information for the plant communities in which this taxon may occur by entering "Washoe pine" in the FEIS home page under "Find Fire Regimes". POSTFIRE REGENERATION STRATEGY : Tree without adventitious-bud root crown Crown-stored residual colonizer; short-viability seed in on-site cones Off-site colonizer; seed carried by wind; postfire years 1 and 2 Off-site colonizer; seed carried by animals or water; postfire years 1 & 2

FIRE EFFECTS

SPECIES: Pinus ponderosa var. washoensis
IMMEDIATE FIRE EFFECT ON PLANT : Literature concerning fire effects specific to Washoe pine is lacking. However, many of the yellow pines harvested in northeastern California during the early 1900's survived earlier fires. Stumps 16 to 36 inches (40.6-81.4 m) tall usually remained after harvest. The lowest portions of the trees were left because they were defective from fire scarring or accumulation of pitch from low-severity fires [14]. PLANT RESPONSE TO FIRE : Literature specific to Washoe pine's response to fire was lacking as of this writing (1993). However, ponderosa pine is know to be tolerant of low- to moderate severity fire, and to establish from crown-stored and off-site seeds after fire. See FEIS Species Reviews of other ponderosa pine varieties for details. FIRE MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : Fire exclusion in white fir habitat types in northeastern California leads to an increase in white fir, with a corresponding decrease in pine species (including Washoe pine) reproduction [20]. A yellow pine-fir forest in the eastern Sierra Nevada near Truckee, California, burned in a 1960 wildfire. In 1965, the burned plot had greater cover of shrubs, herbs, and grasses than an adjacent unburned plot. From 1966 to 1985, shrub cover increased while herbaceous cover decreased. In postfire year 15 yellow pines were the dominant trees, although white and California red fir were present. Yellow pines codominated with the firs in nearby unburned stands. Data are shown below [18]: postfire year 15 density/ha basal area (m²/ha) burned plot yellow pine complex 97.4 3.1 white and California red fir 4.5 1.7 unburned plot yellow pine complex 335.5 24.2 white and California red fir 448.8 15.1 Passerine bird species generally increased after this wildfire. The response of small birds to postfire succession demonstrates the potential of increasing habitat diversity, spatially and temporally, for breeding bird populations [22]. In the eastside yellow pine forests of northeastern California, fuel loading has increased over time. Early logging operations increased slash and fire hazards. Invasion of eastside pine lands by cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) and increases of woody shrubs, dense thickets of young trees, and accretion of woody debris have increased the probability of stand-replacing fires in these forests [14].

REFERENCES

SPECIES: Pinus ponderosa var. washoensis
REFERENCES : 1. Allen-Diaz, Barbara H. 1991. Water table and plant species relationships in Sierra Nevada meadows. American Midland Naturalist. 126: 30-43. [16149] 2. Bernard, Stephen R.; Brown, Kenneth F. 1977. Distribution of mammals, reptiles, and amphibians by BLM physiographic regions and A.W. Kuchler's associations for the eleven western states. Tech. Note 301. Denver, CO: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management. 169 p. [434] 3. Critchfield, William B.; Little, Elbert L., Jr. 1966. Geographic distribution of the pines of the world. Misc. Publ. 991. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 97 p. [20314] 4. Critchfield, William B. 1984. Crossability and relationships of Washoe pine. Madrono. 31(3): 144-170. [21749] 5. Duffield, J. W. 1953. Pine pollen collection dates--annual and geographic variation. For. Res. Notes No. 85. Berkeley, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, California Forest and Range Experiment Station. 9 p. [17970] 6. Eyre, F. H., ed. 1980. Forest cover types of the United States and Canada. Washington, DC: Society of American Foresters. 148 p. [905] 7. Garrison, George A.; Bjugstad, Ardell J.; Duncan, Don A.; [and others]. 1977. Vegetation and environmental features of forest and range ecosystems. Agric. Handb. 475. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 68 p. [998] 8. Griffin, James R.; Critchfield, William B. 1972. The distribution of forest trees in California. Res. Pap. PSW-82. Berkeley, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Forest and Range Experiment Station. 118 p. [1041] 9. Hickman, James C., ed. 1993. The Jepson manual: Higher plants of California. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 1400 p. [21992] 10. Holland, Robert F. 1986. Preliminary descriptions of the terrestrial natural communities of California. Sacramento, CA: California Department of Fish and Game. 156 p. [12756] 11. Jenkinson, James L. 1980. Improving plantation establishment by optimizing growth capacity and planting time of western yellow pine. Res. Pap. PSW-154. Berkeley, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Forest and Range Experiment Station. 22 p. [17966] 12. Kuchler, A. W. 1964. Manual to accompany the map of potential vegetation of the conterminous United States. Special Publication No. 36. New York: American Geographical Society. 77 p. [1384] 13. Latting, June, ed. 1976. Symposium proceedings--plant communities of southern California. Special Publication No. 2. Berkeley, CA: California Native Plant Society. 164 p. [1414] 14. Laudenslayer, William F., Jr.; Darr, Herman H.; Smith, Sydney. 1989. Historical effects of forest management practices on eastside pine communities in northeastern California. In: Tecle, Aregai; Covington, W. Wallace; Hamre, R. H., technical coordinators. Multiresource management of ponderosa pine forests: Proceedings of the symposium; 1989 November 14-16; Flagstaff, AZ. Gen. Tech. Rep. RM-185. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station: 26-34. [11305] 15. Little, Elbert L., Jr. 1975. Rare and local conifers in the United States. Conservation Research Rep. No. 19. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 25 p. [15691] 16. Munz, Philip A. 1973. A California flora and supplement. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 1905 p. [6155] 17. Niebling, Charles R.; Conkle, M. Thompson. 1990. Diversity of Washoe pine and comparisons with allozymes of ponderosa pine races. Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 20(3): 298-308. [15841] 18. Raphael, Martin G.; Morrison, Michael L.; Yoder-Williams, Michael P. 1987. Breeding bird populations during twenty-five years of postfire succession in the Sierra Nevada. Condor. 89: 614-626. [6873] 19. Raunkiaer, C. 1934. The life forms of plants and statistical plant geography. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 632 p. [2843] 20. Riegel, Gregg M.; Thornburgh, Dale A.; Sawyer, John O. 1990. Forest habitat types of the South Warner Mountains, Modoc County, California. Madrono. 37(2): 88-112. [11466] 21. Rundel, Philip W.; Parsons, David J.; Gordon, Donald T. 1977. Montane and subalpine vegetation of the Sierra Nevada and Cascade Ranges. In: Barbour, Michael G.; Major, Jack, eds. Terrestrial vegetation of California. New York: John Wiley & Sons: 559-599. [4235] 22. Severson, Kieth E.; Rinne, John N. 1990. Increasing habitat diversity in Southwestern forests and woodlands via prescribed fire. In: Krammes, J. S., technical coordinator. Effects of fire management of Southwestern natural resources: Proceedings of the symposium; 1988 November 15-17; Tucson, AZ. Gen. Tech. Rep. RM-191. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station: 94-104. [11277] 23. Stickney, Peter F. 1989. Seral origin of species originating in northern Rocky Mountain forests. Unpublished draft on file at: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory, Missoula, MT; RWU 4403 files. 7 p. [20090] 24. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service. 2015. PLANTS Database, [Online]. Available: https://plants.usda.gov /. [34262] 25. Vasek, Frank C.; Thorne, Robert F. 1977. Transmontane coniferous vegetation. In: Barbour, Michael G.; Major, Jack, eds. Terrestrial vegetation of California. New York: John Wiley & Sons: 797-832. [4265] 26. Wells, Osborn O. 1964. Geographic variation in ponderosa pine. I. The ecotypes and their distribution. Silvae Genetica. 13(4): 89-103. [15928] 27. Kuchler, A. W. 1964. Manual to accompany the map of potential vegetation of the conterminous United States. Special Publication No. 36. New York: American Geographical Society. 77 p. [1384] 28. Vale, Thomas R. 1977. Forest changes in the Warner Mountains, California. Annals of the Association of American Geographers. 67(1): 28-45. [20226] 29. Haller, John R. 1962. Variation and hybridization in ponderosa and Jeffrey pines. University of California Publications in Botany. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press; 34(2): 129-166. [1064] 30. Mirov, N. T. 1961. Composition of gum turpentines of pines. Tech. Bull. No. 1239. Berkeley, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Forest and Range Experiment Station. 158 p. [22164] 31. Kartesz, J. T.; The Biota of North America Program (BONAP). 2015. Taxonomic Data Center, [Online]. Chapel Hill, NC: The Biota of North America Program (Producer). Available online: bonap.org. [maps generated from Kartesz, J. T. 2010. Floristic synthesis of North America, Version 1.0. Biota of North America Program (BONAP). (in press)]. [84789]

FEIS Home Page