Torrey Pine Woodland

TP-woods-1
Photo by Roger Isaacson

The Torrey pine (Pinus torreyana) is the most restricted and rarest pine in North America. It grows in the Torrey pine woodland or Pacific coniferous forest. This pine is probably the remnant of an ancient coastal forest which has been reduced during the drying period of the last ten thousand years to the sandy soils of the sandstone bluffs and ravines of Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve and Santa Rosa Island. Extensive root systems and blankets of summer fog aid in the tree’s survival and propagation. The trees along the bluff are twisted and gnarled into spectacular shapes by the omnipresent winds, while those which are sheltered are more robust and erect.

The vegetation associated with the Torrey pine woodland is a mixture of plants from the coastal sage scrub and chaparral plant communities. Further studies need to be undertaken to examine the woodland microclimate and plants normally absent from the previous two plant communities.

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