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Tree to 30 m, trunk erect, slender or massive, 0.8–1 m dbh. Bark thick, very rough, reddish brown to dark brown, breaking into numerous elongated plates, this process beginning in very young trees. Crown broad, open, pyramidal or domed. Branchlets very rough, thick, scaly; vegetative buds large, not resinous. Leaves in fascicles of five (rarely four or six), persisting for two to three years, bright, lustrous green, straight or flexible, drooping, triangular in cross-section, (17–)25–40(–45) × 0.1–0.16 cm, apex acute. Fascicle sheaths 3–4 cm long, orange-brown, turning dark brown or black, very resinous. Cataphylls large, 2–2.5 cm long, subulate, dark brown to black. Male strobili cylindrical, 2–4 cm long. Female cones subterminal, solitary, paired or in whorls of three to four, peduncles thick and persistent, a few cone scales remaining when the cone is shed. Cones 15–35 × 8–15 cm, initially erect, pinkish purple, mature in winter at about 20 months old; mature cones often curved. Scales 175–225, irregular in shape, spreading wide at maturity, thick, woody and rigid or slightly flexible; apophysis mostly raised, rhombic; umbo dorsal, flat or depressed, prickle deciduous. Seeds light brown with dark spots; wings 2.5–3.5 × 1–1.5 cm, light brown with darker stripes; most seedlings having a ‘grass stage’ of development. Farjon & Styles 1997, Farjon et al. 1997, Farjon 2005a. Distribution GUATEMALA; MEXICO: Aguascalientes, Chiapas, Guerrero, Hidalgo, Jalisco, México, Michoacán, Morelos, Nayarit, Oaxaca, Puebla, Querétaro, San Luis Potosí, Tlaxcala, Veracruz, Zacatecas. Habitat Constituent of open, pine-oak forest and mixed pine forest, between 700 and 3500 m asl. USDA Hardiness Zone 10. Conservation status Lower Risk. Illustration Fu et al. 1999c.
Despite its wide range, Pinus devoniana seems to be seldom collected by visitors to Mexico, and records of only two recent introductions have been traced. (It is available from several British nurseries, but the authenticity of such plants has not been confirmed.) In 1981 it was collected (as P. michoacana) by B. Bartholomew and D.E. Breedlove in Chiapas, from which gathering there is a tree at Berkeley. Seed from a cone collected by Alan Mitchell on the 1982 IDS tour of Mexico was grown by Michael Frankis, and the plants distributed to a few gardens in Cornwall, but no seedlings are known to have survived. Although sometimes recorded as P. devoniana (Govier 2001), a collection made by Keith Rushforth in 1987 in Nuevo León (KR 497) is now known to be P. montezumae (M. Frankis, pers. comm. 2007). An intriguing reference in the TROBI list suggests an earlier introduction, however, with a record of a 4 m specimen of ‘P. michoacana cornutata’ growing in a garden in Herefordshire in 1993. A relative of the slightly better-known P. montezumae, P. devoniana has a robust growth habit, with thick shoots bearing terminal clusters of exceptionally long, stiff, spreading needles, and forming a rounded crown when mature. It requires a mild location and may not be hardy enough for cultivation in western Europe.