Bristlecone fir - Abies bracteata

This rare fir's native range is restricted to the Santa Lucia Mountains in California.

The bristlecone fir is so named because its cone is covered in spines like a hedgehog. It is the only cone with bristles. The cones disintegrate and give way to winged seeds that are distributed by the wind. However, so far collecting these seed has proved difficult. The collectors on the 2015 expedition (as well as on a previous trip) found the tree but the seeds were not viable for collection. The reason for cones remaining unfertilised is not yet known. Possible reasons include the production of pollen and cones not coinciding, or it may just be because of insect damage or the heat!

This tree grows to about 25-30m. At Bedgebury there are three old trees (which are about 70 years old) and a couple of young specimens.