A small tree growing 5-8 m tall. Bark smooth and green at first, becoming scaly. Young shoots yellow-brown and rusty haired. Buds about 5-7 mm long with scales closely pressed down. Leaves in 5's, 3-5 cm long, curved, white-flecked with resin; sheath partly deciduous leaving a basal rosette. Cones about 5-10 cm long; scales with a long prickle.
Supplied in the nursery trade as an ornamental pine. Grows naturally at over 2500 m altitude in the American Rocky Mountains from Colorado and New Mexico on rocky or gravelly slopes at the upper limit of tree growth. Specimens of the allied P. longaeva D.K. Bailey (syn. P. aristata var. longaeva (D.K. Bailey) Little), from SE California, Nevada and Utah have been dated at more than 4600 years old making them the oldest living plants; this species is rare in cultivation in Australia.
Leaves short, stiff, pointed, resin-flecked; shoots rusty-haired young; cones long-prickled.
Source: (1995). Pinaceae. In: . Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 1, Ferns, conifers & their allies. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.