Colin Mills, compiler of the Hortus Camdenensis, died in late November 2012 after a short illness. As he always considered the Hortus his legacy, it is his family's intention to keep the site running in perpetuity. It will not, however, be updated in the near future.

Pinus maximinoi H.E.Moore

Half-hardy, evergreen, broadly conical tree, becoming domed with age, with smooth bark, pendulous, apple-green leaves borne in fives, to 25cm long, and ovoid cones, to 14cm long.  To 35m.  [RHSD].

Horticultural & Botanical History

The relationship between Pinus pseudostrobus  of Lindley and Pinus tenuifolia of Bentham has been the subject of debate and they are often considered separate species today.  I have treated them separately in the Hortus for convenience but they a probably a single species, most properly called Pinus maximinoi H.E.Moore.

‘Bentham described the species Pinus tenuifolia in 1842 from Hartweg’s specimen number 620 (type), collected in Guatemala.  Apparently, however, he was unaware that the name P. tenuifolia had already been published by Salisbury in 1796.  Shaw (1909), also unaware of the earlier homonym, reduced P. tenuifolia to varietal status.  Martinez (1948) restored P. pseudostrobus var. tenuifolia to specific status as P. tenuifolia Bentham.  Loock (1950) followed Martinez’s classification of P. tenuifolia; however, Standley and Steyermark (1957) did not agree with Martinez or Loock, rejected both Shaw’s and Bentham’s assignments, and reduced Bentham’s P. tenuifolia and Shaw’s P. pseudostrobus var. tenuifolia to synonymy under P. pseudostrobus Lindley.  Gaussen (1960), in agreement with Martinez and Loock, restored P. tenuifolia to specific status.  Schwerdtfeger (1953), Aguilar (1961), and Mirov (1961) followed Martinez and Loock in treating P. tenuifolia Bentham as a species.  Molina (1964) listed only four pines (Pinus ayacahuite Ehrenberg, P. oocarpa Schiede, P. caribaca Morelet, and P. pseudostrobus) native to Honduras and made no mention of P. tenuifolia.  More recently, Mittak (1977) treated P. tenuifolia as a species and also referred to intrusions of the hypoderm into the chlorenchyma in leaves collected in Guatemala.

Moore (1966) proposed Pinus Maximinoi H. E. Moore, nom. nov., to replace Bentham’s name because of the existence of the 1796 homonym, P. tenuifolia Salisbury.’  [Journal of the Arnold Arboretum v.60 no.1 p.386/1979].

History at Camden Park

Listed in all published catalogues under the name Pinus tenuifolia [C.74/1843]. Pinus tenuifolia was included in a consignment of plants sent from Kew by John Bidwill in 1843 [AJCP].  It is probable that these were sent to Camden but the catalogue date suggests that a plant was already in the gardens under this name.  For this reason Pinus tenuifolia Salisb. must be considered as an identification.


The name usually recognised today for this plant plant is Pinus maximinoi H.E.Moore, but see also Pinus pseudostrobus Lindl.  Pinus tenuifolia Benth. is also included in the Camden Park catalogues and I have chosen to record Pinus pseudo-strobus and Pinus tenuifolia of the catalogues separately with a more detailed review of the taxonomic stauts of the species given here.

Pinus tenuifolia Salisb. (1796) = Pinus strobus L.  Bentham’s description was only published in 1842 but the plant sent from Kew under this name would almost certainly be the one described by Bentham. Johnson’s Dictionary lists Pinus tenuifolia as a species from Guatemala without a date of introduction, suggesting the Pinus tenuifolia of Bentham rather than Salisbury.  But see also Pinus strobus L.

Published Jul 23, 2009 - 04:50 PM | Last updated Jul 29, 2010 - 03:26 PM

Family Pinaceae
Region of origin

Central America

  • Pinus tenuifolia Benth. non Salisb.
  • Pinus pseudostrobus Lindl.
  • Pinus apulcensis Lindl.
  • Pinus orizabae Gord.
Common Name

Thin leaf pine, Smooth-barked Mexican pine

Name in the Camden Park Record

Pinus tenuifolia

Confidence level high