Characteristics of Hazelnut Pine Tree (Pinus oocarpa) in the Wild

Pinus oocarpa
Hazelnut Pine or Mexican Yellow Pine (Pinus oocarpa) is a species of pine tree native to Mexico and Central America. It is said that this species is the ancestor (native) who became the ancestor of several other pines in Mexico.

On May 14, 1928, President Miguel Paz Barahona declared that Hazelnut Pine is the national tree of Honduras, known as Ocote.

Hazelnut Pine is an important commercial source of wood in Honduras and Central America. The wood is used for the paper industry in Ecuador, Kenya, Zambia, Colombia, Bolivia, Brazil, South Africa, and Queensland (Australia).

It spreads from the states of Chihuahua, Mexico, and Guatemala to the highest plains in Honduras, El Salvador, and Northwest Nicaragua. In Mexico, it lives between 150 and 2,400 m above sea level. In El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua it grows above 1,100 m asl. P. oocarpa var. trifoliates grow between 2,000 and 2,400 m above sea level.


Characteristics of Hazelnut Pine Leaf

Pinus oocarpa Leaf

The leaves are pale green to dark green, grow in groups of 3-5, 11-30 cm in size, straight, stiff, the base of the leaves is wrapped in a 2.5 cm long sheath.


Characteristics of Hazelnut Pine Fruit

Pinus oocarpa Fruit

The fruit is an ovate or subglobose cone with a flat base, 3-10 cm long and 3-12 cm wide. They are covered by 70-130 scales, symmetrical, straight, or slightly curved.


Characteristics of Hazelnut Pine Tree

Pinus oocarpa Tree

Hazelnut Pine can grow into a medium-sized upright tree reaching 20-25 meters in height, with a thick trunk and bark that is gray or reddish-brown.

The tree grows well in temperatures of 15 to 24 °C and rainfall between 1000-1900 mm per year.

Hazelnut Pine is introduced and grown for forestry in several tropical and subtropical areas such as in West Africa and South Africa, Brazil, Colombia, and Argentina. The tree is rarely grown in gardens and confined to a few botanical gardens as well as arboretums in countries with warm climates.


Hazelnut Pine is used as a traditional medicine in the countries of the southwest coast of Mexico such as Guerrero, Oaxaca, and Chiapas countries.

The leaves are believed to fight dysentery, while the bark is used to treat bronchial asthma.

In the case of pneumonia, the patient will be prescribed a drug consisting of a pill made with resin (turpentine) from Ocote.

The water vapor from the decoction of Hazelnut Pine sap with Eucalyptus globulus is believed to relieve coughs.


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