To many pine afficianados, it is simply the most beautiful thing in the world. This is the Montezuma pine , or Pinus montezumae. The names gives away its origin since Montezuma was the last king of the Aztec Empire in Mexico. And it grows from Central America north to the Mexican province of Nuevo Leon following the Sierra Madre mountain range. Although it is tropical, it is Alpine Tropical, simply meaning that it likes conditions that are neither too hot nor too cold which qualifies this obscure beauty for the UK, Pacific Northwest, British Columbia, New Zealand and Australia.

What puts the Montezuma pine at the top of so many connoisseur lists is its graceful form. This conifer is famous its long needles, which are so long, almost a foot, that they drape languidly at branch tips giving the tree a wonderfully, graceful air. And being evergreen, the lovely form can be appreciated year-round. The needles are also glaucous, meaning there is a bluish cast covering the needles making for a very handsome sea green color unlike the darker green of most pines. 

In the wilds of the Sierra Madre mountains, it has been known to reach heights of 100 feet and even as much as 130 feet. In cultivation however, it is far smaller growing 25 to 30 feet, a size perfect for most urban gardens. And it's well-suited as a screen or barrier plant as well. The weeping effect is a welcome alternative to the normally stiff outline of most pines and Montezuma pine is a stand out in any garden though it is usually challenge to find as it's only to be found in the more select tree nurseries.

Another equally beautiful pine is the Himalayan weeping pine, Pinus wallichiana.


Montezuma pine

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