I collected seeds of a local pine tree, and the seeds were different from typical pine seeds I've seen before. It has a little needle sticking from the end of it. The tail is stiffer and doesn't break as easily. The seed as a whole is about 2 inches.

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This tree was growing in San Diego.
Here's a picture of it's leaves.

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The tree was a mature tree. Not tall and conical, but rather had medium height (20-30 feet) and a dome shaped canopy.

Update: As @blacksmith37 noted in the accepted answer below, this wasn't actually a pine. It was some sort of mesquite tree. These seeds did travel quite a bit.

  • Good question & good illustrations; if could include an overall illustration, close illustrations of a cone & of the bark, dimensions of a cone, thickness of the seed, needle length, trunk diameter, bark features, and elevation where the tree was growing, could also be helpful. Thank you :)
    – M H
    Feb 1, 2021 at 5:58

2 Answers 2


The seed in the photo is some kind of maple ; they move well with wind so it may have come some distance.

  • You were right. When I went back to the location I found a tree near by with these seeds. It wasn't a maple but it was some sort of mesquite tree.
    – Christian
    Feb 11, 2021 at 4:30

Clearly for the San Diego area it will need to be a species adapted to very dry, hot conditions which will eliminate a lot of the temperate species of the north. The San Diego Zoo site mentions three Pinus species, P. coulteri, P. halepensis and P. torreyana. The descriptions provided in sites like wikipedia don't provide sufficient detail to distinguish these by seed shape and size so we need recourse to authorities like https://www.conifers.org/pi/Pinus_torreyana.php where there is a lot more detail on the samara morphology. Note that the seed body and wing sizes are listed separately, putting at least P. halepensis in as a candidate since the seed body is shorter than the wing portion approaching the two inches overall you have noted.

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