Excerpts from Jim Conrad's
notes appended to the April 12, 2015 Newsletter
describing a visit to San Juan de Monte Ecological Reserve on the south side of Las Vigas,
on the northern slope of Cofre de Perote Volcano, at about 8100ft (2500m) in elevation,
Veracruz state, MÉXICO
About an hour's hike southward from Las Vigas, thus upslope toward Cofre de Perote Volcano well south of town, and hidden by forested foothills, I camped at the edge of a piney forest developed on thin soil of black basalt rock. The pines are all the same height, maybe 30 years old, and the main species, obviously planted, bear long, drooping needles, possibly Pinus patula, but I can't find cones on them for proper identification.
However, less common and generally found at the edge of cliffs there's a pine with rigid needles, and it's bearing cones. But first, below you can see the pine's stiff needles, in clusters of threes, or sometimes twos:
For identification purposes, notice that the bases of the needle clusters are embraced by a blackish, papery, persistent sheaths. A close-up of this is shown below:
The trees' few cones were open, having long lost their seeds, as shown below:
Also notice that the twig's bark is covered with exfoliating plates -- another good identification feature.
This is the Teocote Pine, PINUS TEOCOTE, found only in Mexico and a few places in Guatemala, but wide-ranging in highlands throughout Mexico. Its resin is used to produce turpentine. Sometimes the species is sold in northern nurseries under the name Aztec Pine.
Though the abundant pines with drooping needles, which I guess to be Pinus patula, are obviously planted, these Teocote Pines strike me as growing naturally here. They are known to be native to this part of highland Veracruz.
The Flora of Veracruz lists twelve pine species for Veracruz.