The digger pines are few at my elevation. Here, there are mostly ponderosas and tall mountain oaks, both of which species need considerable amounts of water to grow well. The digger pines prefer the lower slopes of the piedmont, where they thrive in the dry climate. In between, there is a zone which the two coniferous species share. These two digger pines are just below that zone, in an area where there are olive groves. Like the cultivated trees near which they grow, there is something Mediterranean in the look of digger pines, but I also see something vaguely Japanese in their varied shapes.
The ponderosas, unless they have been damaged, are quite symmetrical, and their lower branches swoop downward. Each ponderosa looks much like the next. The asymmetrical, aspiring branches of the digger pines give them considerable individuality of appearance. From the distance, they can look much like bonsai. They tend to be scattered, and the oaks among which most of them grow are short, allowing a clear view of the tall conifers from a great distance. Of all the trees native to this region, the digger pines are my favorite.