Description from Flora of China
Pinus prominens Masters; P. sinensis D. Don var. densata (Masters) Shaw; P. tabuliformis Carriere var. densata (Masters) Rehder; P. wilsonii Shaw (1911), not Roezl (1857).
Trees to 30 m tall; trunk to 1.3 m d.b.h.; bark reddish brown, scaly and plated when young, finally dark grayish brown, forming irregular, square, thick plates; crown ovoid-conical, broadly ovoid in old trees; branches spreading; 1st-year branchlets shiny yellowish brown, stout; 2nd- and 3rd-year branchlets reddish brown; winter buds dull brown, ovoid-conical, ca. 15 × 6 mm, slightly resinous, scales white fringed at margin, acuminate at apex. Needles persisting for 3 years, usually 2(or 3) per bundle, straight, slightly twisted, 8-14 cm × 1-1.5 mm, stomatal lines present on all surfaces, resin canals 3 or 4, marginal, occasionally 1 or 2 median, base with persistent sheath initially 5-10 mm, margin finely serrulate, apex acute. Pollen cones yellowish brown, cylindric, 10-18 × 3-4.5 mm. Seed cones solitary or in pairs, pendulous, sessile or very shortly pedunculate, shiny chocolate brown at maturity, narrowly ovoid before opening, ovoid or broadly ovoid when open, 4-6 × 4-7 cm, persistent. Seed scales with apophyses prominent, rhombic, 4-7 mm thick, sharply transversely keeled; umbo dorsal, with a short prickle. Seeds light grayish brown, ellipsoid-ovoid, 4-6 mm; wing 1.5-2 cm. Pollination May, seed maturity Oct of 2nd year.
Morphologically intermediate between Pinus yunnanensis of lower elevations and P. tabuliformis of more northerly latitudes. Molecular evidence supports the hypothesis that P. densata originated as a Tertiary natural hybrid involving the former two species and a third, unknown species.
Can be used for afforestation in the alpine zones of W Sichuan and E Xizang.
* Open forests in high mountains, forming pure stands or (below 3000 m) mixed with Pinus armandii and P. yunnanensis; 2600-3500 (-4200) m. S Qinghai, W Sichuan, SE Xizang, Yunnan