In a Nutshell:
* The Coulter pine or big-cone pine, Pinus coulteri, is a native of the coastal mountains of Southern California and northern Baja California (Mexico). Isolated groves are found as far north as the San Francisco Bay Area in Mt. Diablo State Park and Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve. The species is named after Thomas Coulter, an Irish botanist and physician.
* The Coulter pine produces the heaviest cone of any pine tree. Although it has a limited range in the wild, it is a popular ornamental tree.
* Pinus coulteri is a substantial coniferous evergreen tree in the genus Pinus. The size ranges from 10–24 m (33–79 ft) tall, and a trunk diameter up to 1 m (3.3 ft). The trunk is vertical and branches horizontal to upcurved. The leaves are needle-like, in bundles of three, glaucous gray-green, 15–30 cm (5.9–11.8 in) long and stout, 2 mm (0.079 in) thick.
* The outstanding characteristic of this tree is the large, spiny cones which are 20–40 cm (7.9–15.7 in) long, and weigh 2–5 kg (4.4–11.0 lb) when fresh. Coulter pines produce the largest cones of any pine tree species (people are actually advised to wear hardhats when working in Coulter pine groves), although the slender cones of the sugar pine are longer. The large size of the cones has earned them the nickname "widowmakers" among locals.
* Pinus coulteri is cultivated as an ornamental tree, planted in parks and large gardens, and drought tolerant landscaping. The Coulter pine has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit. more...
* The oil-rich seed has a delicious taste with a slightly resinous flavour, it used to be gathered in large quantities by the local Indians who ate it as a staple food. more...