Why are these Ponderosa pines so strange?

A:

That is likely caused by western dwarf mistletoe, Arceuthobium campylopodum, parasitic plant that is common in Ponderosa pine.

The branches are infected by the sticky seed of the dwarf mistletoe when young, and they may slowly deform over many years. Read more about this: Dwarf Mistletoes of Ponderosa Pine.

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