Densely crowned widespreading tree to 10 m or more tall. Bark reddish-brown, scaly. Buds ovoid, to 1 cm long. Young shoots waxy grey. Leaves in 4's and 5's or rarely 3's, 2.5-4.5 cm long, rigid, pointed and incurved, packed closely together and generally white-banded on the inner surface; sheaths partly persistent, splitting and curling back on the leaves. Cones globose 3-5 cm long, 2-5 cm wide; scales with thick, woody tips, spreading widely. Seeds about 1.5 c, long with a vestigial wing about 2 mm long.
Of limited distribution in the wild where it grows on fairly arid mountain slopes. The closely related P. edulis Engelm. (P. cembroides Zucc. var. edulis (Engelm.)Voss), the Pinyon of the Colorado Plateau, has leaves in 2's about 2.5-4 cm long; a specimen may be seen in the Queen's Domain, Hobart while the related and unusual single-leaved P. monophylla Torrey ex Frémont, Single-leaf Pinyon from Nevada and Utah may be seen in specialist collections.
S California, N Baja California.
Basal sheath bent back; few-scaled cones.
VIC: Daylesford ('Wombat Park' 18.5 tall in 1987- a herbarium specimen in the National Herbarium of Victoria dated 1924 was probably collected from the same tree); Geelong (Eastern Park).
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.