Distribution and habitat
Jeffrey pine occurs from southwest Oregon south through much of California (mainly in the Sierra Nevada), to northern Baja California in Mexico. It is a high-altitude species; in the north of its range, it grows widely at 1,500 to 2,100 m (4,900 to 6,900 ft) altitude, and at 1,800 to 2,900 m (5,900 to 9,500 ft) in the south of its range.
Jeffrey pine is tolerant of serpentine soils and is often dominant in these conditions, even on dry sites at fairly low altitudes. On other soils, it only becomes dominant at higher altitudes where the usually faster-growing ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) does not thrive. Jeffrey pine is more stress tolerant than the closely related Ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa). At higher elevations, on poorer soils, in colder climates, and in dryer climates, Jeffrey pine replaces ponderosa as the dominant tree.