We have recently published ‘Food Forest Plants for Hotter Conditions’: i.e. tropical and sub-tropical regions. We rely on regular donations to keep our free database going and help fund development of this and another book we are planning on food forest plants for Mediterranean climates. Please give what you can to keep PFAF properly funded. More >>>

Follow Us:


Pinus monophylla - Torr.&Frém.

Common Name Single Leaf Piñon, Single Leaf PinyonPine, Stone Pine, Pine Pinyon
Family Pinaceae
USDA hardiness 6-8
Known Hazards The wood, sawdust and resins from various species of pine can cause dermatitis in sensitive people[222].
Habitats Arid slopes at low elevations[120], growing in pinyon-juniper woodlands[229]. Often forms extensive open forests at elevations of 1500 - 2100 metres[82].
Range Western N. America - Utah to Nevada, Arizona and California.
Edibility Rating    (4 of 5)
Other Uses    (5 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun
Pinus monophylla Single Leaf Piñon, Single Leaf PinyonPine, Stone Pine,  Pine Pinyon

Pinus monophylla Single Leaf Piñon, Single Leaf PinyonPine, Stone Pine,  Pine Pinyon


Translate this page:


Bloom Color: Red, Yellow. Main Bloom Time: Early spring, Late spring, Mid spring. Form: Pyramidal, Rounded.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of cone
Pinus monophylla is an evergreen Tree growing to 10 m (32ft 10in) at a slow rate.It is in leaf all year, and the seeds ripen in October. The species is monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant) and is pollinated by Wind. The plant is not self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid and neutral soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


P. cembroides monophylla.

Plant Habitats

Woodland Garden Canopy;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Seed
Edible Uses: Condiment

Seed - raw or cooked[1, 82, 161, 257]. Oily, with an agreeable almond-like flavour[2, 229], they are often used in sweetmeats, pastries, etc. They are the lowest in protein and fats and the highest in starch of the piñons[183, 200]. The seeds are an important food source for the local Indians of Nevada and California[82]. A good size, the seed is up to 20mm long[200] and has a thin shell[229]. The pitch obtained from the trunk is allowed to harden and is then used as a chewing gum[257]. A vanillin flavouring is obtained as a by-product of other resins that are released from the pulpwood[200].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Antiseptic  Contraceptive  Diuretic  Laxative  Plaster  Poultice  Salve  Skin  

Single leaf piñon was employed medicinally by several native North American Indian tribes who valued it especially for its antiseptic and vulnerary properties and also for its beneficial effect on the respiratory system[257]. It is little, if at all, used in modern herbalism. The turpentine obtained from the resin of all pine trees is antiseptic, diuretic, rubefacient and vermifuge[4]. It is a valuable remedy in the treatment of kidney and bladder complaints, and is used both internally and externally to treat rheumatic affections[4, 257]. It is also used in treating diseases of the mucous membranes, respiratory complaints, VD, TB, coughs, colds and influenza[4, 257]. A decoction is used to rid the body of tapeworms and other internal parasites[257]. Externally it is used in the form of liniment plasters and inhalers[4]. A poultice of the melted gum has been applied to cuts and sores[257]. The heated pitch has been applied to the face as a depilatory[257]. The pitch has also been used as a face cream to prevent sunburn[257]. The heated pitch has been used as a poultice to treat sciatic pains and muscular soreness[257]. The cooked pitch has been used by women to stop menstruation and thereby become infertile[257]. It has also been given to adolescent girls to help them keep youthful and live a long life[257]. The gum is used as a plaster on sores and cuts[216].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

The Bookshop: Edible Plant Books

Our Latest books on Perennial Plants For Food Forests and Permaculture Gardens in paperback or digital formats.

Food Forest Plants for Hotter Conditions: 250+ Plants For Tropical Food Forests & Permaculture Gardens.
Edible Tropical Plants

Food Forest Plants for Hotter Conditions: 250+ Plants For Tropical Food Forests & Permaculture Gardens.

Plants for Your Food Forest: 500 Plants for Temperate Food Forests & Permaculture Gardens.
Edible Temperate Plants

Plants for Your Food Forest: 500 Plants for Temperate Food Forests & Permaculture Gardens.

PFAF have eight books available in paperback and digital media.
More Books

PFAF have eight books available in paperback and digital formats. Browse the shop for more information.

Shop Now

Other Uses

Adhesive  Dye  Fuel  Herbicide  Pitch  Plaster  Roofing  Wood

A tan or green dye is obtained from the needles[168]. The needles contain a substance called terpene, this is released when rain washes over the needles and it has a negative effect on the germination of some plants, including wheat[201]. Oleo-resins are present in the tissues of all species of pines, but these are often not present in sufficient quantity to make their extraction economically worthwhile[64]. The resins are obtained by tapping the trunk, or by destructive distillation of the wood[4, 64]. In general, trees from warmer areas of distribution give the higher yields[64]. Turpentine consists of an average of 20% of the oleo-resin[64] and is separated by distillation[4, 64]. Turpentine has a wide range of uses including as a solvent for waxes etc, for making varnish, medicinal etc[4]. Rosin is the substance left after turpentine is removed. This is used by violinists on their bows and also in making sealing wax, varnish etc[4]. Pitch can also be obtained from the resin and is used for waterproofing, as a wood preservative etc. The gum (this almost certainly means the resin[K]) is used in waterproofing canoes, baskets, water containers etc, for repairing pottery vessels and in making turquoise mosaic[216]. It is also used as an adhesive for mending pottery[257]. The bark has been used as a roofing material in houses[257]. Wood - light, soft, weak and brittle[82]. Used primarily for fuel and fence posts[229]. It is also made into charcoal and used for smelting[82]. The wood has a high combustibility and burns well[257]. It gives off a pleasant aroma as it burns[257].

Special Uses

Carbon Farming  Food Forest

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Management: Standard  Staple Crop: Protein-oil  Wild Staple Crop

Landscape Uses:Specimen, Woodland garden. Thrives in a light well-drained sandy or gravelly loam[1, 11]. Succeeds in a hot dry position[200]. Dislikes poorly drained moorland soils[1]. Established plants tolerate drought[200]. A slow growing tree in the wild, taking 25 years from sowing until it produces a crop[117]. It then usually produces cones annually, with heavy crops very 2 - 3 years[229]. The tree is long-lived, taking 250 - 350 years to reach maturity[181]. It grows well in southern England[120] and in most of the drier parts of Britain[11]. The cones take 2 summers to mature[229], they open and shed their seed whilst still attached to the tree[226]. Closely related to P. cembroides and considered to be no more than a sub-species of it by some botanists[11]. The main difference is that this species has its leaves singly whilst P. cembroides has them in groups of two or three[200]. Plants are strongly outbreeding, self-fertilized seed usually grows poorly[200]. They hybridize freely with other members of this genus[200]. Leaf secretions inhibit the germination of seeds, thereby reducing the amount of plants that can grow beneath the tree[18]. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus[200]. Special Features: North American native, Inconspicuous flowers or blooms.

Carbon Farming

  • Management: Standard  Plants grow to their standard height. Harvest fruit, seeds, or other products. Non-Destructive management systems.
  • Staple Crop: Protein-oil  (16+ percent protein, 16+ percent oil). Annuals include soybeans, peanuts, sunflower seeds. Perennials include seeds, beans, nuts, and fruits such as almond, Brazil nut, pistachio, walnut, hazel, and safou.
  • Wild Staple Crop  Some wild plants have strong historical or contemporary use. Although they are not cultivated crops, they may be wild-managed.

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

Type a value in the Celsius field to convert the value to Fahrenheit:



The PFAF Bookshop

Plants For A Future have a number of books available in paperback and digital form. Book titles include Edible Plants, Edible Perennials, Edible Trees,Edible Shrubs, Woodland Gardening, and Temperate Food Forest Plants. Our new book is Food Forest Plants For Hotter Conditions (Tropical and Sub-Tropical).

Shop Now

Plant Propagation

It is best to sow the seed in individual pots in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe if this is possible otherwise in late winter. A short stratification of 6 weeks at 4°c can improve the germination of stored seed[80]. Plant seedlings out into their permanent positions as soon as possible and protect them for their first winter or two[11]. Plants have a very sparse root system and the sooner they are planted into their permanent positions the better they will grow[K]. Trees should be planted into their permanent positions when they are quite small, between 30 and 90cm[200]. We actually plant them out when they are about 5 - 10cm tall. So long as they are given a very good weed-excluding mulch they establish very well[K]. Larger trees will check badly and hardly put on any growth for several years. This also badly affects root development and wind resistance[200]. Cuttings. This method only works when taken from very young trees less than 10 years old. Use single leaf fascicles with the base of the short shoot. Disbudding the shoots some weeks before taking the cuttings can help. Cuttings are normally slow to grow away[81].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Acinos alpinusAlpine CalamintPerennial0.5 4-8  LMHNDM11 
Carpinus betulusHornbeam, European hornbeam, Common Hornbeam, European HornbeamTree25.0 5-7 MLMHFSNM023
Carpinus carolinianaAmerican Hornbeam, Blue Beech, Ironwood, American HornbeamTree12.0 3-9 SLMHSNM112
Carpinus cordata Tree15.0 4-8 SLMHSNM002
Carpinus laxiflora Tree15.0 4-8  LMHSNM002
Lupinus albusWhite LupinAnnual1.2 0-0  LMNM414
Lupinus albus graecus Annual1.0 0-0  LMHNDM403
Lupinus angustifoliusBlue Lupin, Narrowleaf lupineAnnual1.0 7-9  LMNM404
Lupinus arboreusTree Lupin, Yellow bush lupineShrub1.5 7-10 FLMNDM005
Lupinus hirsutus Annual0.0 0-0  LMHNM203
Lupinus littoralisSeashore LupinePerennial0.5 6-9  LMHNM203
Lupinus luteusYellow Lupin, European yellow lupineAnnual0.6 5-9  LMNM303
Lupinus mutabilisPearl Lupin, TarwiAnnual1.5 8-11  LMHNM504
Lupinus nootkatensisBlue Lupine, Nootka lupinePerennial0.7 4-8  LMHNM303
Lupinus perennisSundial LupinePerennial0.6 4-8  LMNDM313
Lupinus polyphyllusBig-Leaf Lupin, LupinePerennial1.5 5-9 MLMHNM114
Lupinus tauris Shrub0.0 0-0  LMNDM003
Lupinus termisWhite LupinAnnual1.0 0-0  LMHNM203
Phyllocladus alpinusAlpine Celery PineShrub9.0 7-10 SLMHSNM001
Pinus albicaulisWhite-Bark PineTree20.0 4-8 SLMNDM423
Pinus aristataBristle-Cone PineTree12.0 3-10 SLMNDM222
Pinus armandiiChinese White Pine, Armand pineTree15.0 6-9 MLMNDM422
Pinus ayacahuiteMexican White PineTree55.0 6-9  LMNDM223
Pinus banksianaJack PineTree12.0 2-7 FLMNDM223
Pinus brutiaCalabrian pine, Turkish pineTree30.0 7-11 FLMHNDM233
Pinus bungeanaLace-Bark Pine, Bunge's pineTree10.0 4-7 SLMNDM323
Pinus californiarum Tree10.0 8-11  LMNDM123
Pinus caribaeaCaribbean Pine. Caribbean pitch pineTree30.0 10-12 FLMNDM223
Pinus cembraSwiss Stone Pine, Swiss Pine, Arolla PineTree15.0 3-9 SLMHSNDM423
Pinus cembra sibiricaSiberian PineTree30.0 1-6 SLMNDM423

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


Expert comment



Botanical References


Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here

Readers comment

   Sep 25 2012 12:00AM

I am not an expert on any species of plant, I am only relaying information that was given to me by other people and my direct observations. Regarding Pinus Monophylla: I have several at 2400m elevation, although they thrive better at lower elevation. I observe many of them growing on stream and river banks, so they are much more water tolerant than they are given credit for. The growth rate is limited by the small number of pores in the leaves, a feature that is unique to this species and readily visible with a 6x magnifier. They develop very long tap roots in the wild, typically several times the height of a sapling. Saplings need protection from direct sun; mature plants need direct sun. In the wild they sprout best under "nurse shrubs" such as Big Sage. Deer will eat the sprouts, so the nurse shrubs also protect the sprouts from browsers by hiding them. The wood is sold by the pound as a flavoring for barbeque smoking. There may be more subspecies than have been reported. Prepared nuts are available from a distributor for about $30/pound. Most of these are harvested by Native Americans from the forest in the Pine Nut Range at about 1400m elevation about 50km north of my property. Wild saplings are transplant-able if less than 25cm tall and uprooted with tap root intact. Most of my saplings are found around the base of mature trees, calling into question the claim that the mature tree can stop germination around its base.

Add a comment

If you have important information about this plant that may help other users please add a comment or link below. Only comments or links that are felt to be directly relevant to a plant will be included. If you think a comment/link or information contained on this page is inaccurate or misleading we would welcome your feedback at [email protected]. If you have questions about a plant please use the Forum on this website as we do not have the resources to answer questions ourselves.

* Please note: the comments by website users are not necessarily those held by PFAF and may give misleading or inaccurate information.

To leave a comment please Register or login here All comments need to be approved so will not appear immediately.

Subject : Pinus monophylla  
© 2010, Plants For A Future. Plants For A Future is a charitable company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales. Charity No. 1057719, Company No. 3204567.