This plant was described in 1910 by Michel Gandoger in the bulletin of the French Botanical Society at species rank. It took over half a century when it was reclassified as a subspecies of Juniperus oxycedrus (Amaral Franco, 1963) and later treated at variety rank under the same species (John Silba, 1984).
This juniper has a broad distribution in the mountains of central Asia, from the Altai through the Tien Shan, the Pamirs and the Karakoram, with an altitudinal range of 1950 to 4100 m.
Documenting this species requires to hike Vietnam's tallest mountain peak, Fan Si Pan, sometimes spelled as Fansipan or Fan Xi Pan (3143 m), part of the Hoang Lien Son (range). In December 2003, this was made possible with financial help from I.D.R.I. and the guidance of Dr. Dzuong Duc Huyen, country officer of the Prosea (Plant Resources of Southeast Asia) Project, and deputy head of the Botanical Department of the Institute of Ecology and Biological Resources (Hanoi).
After our team was alerted on a low-elevation occurrence in Gia Lai province of Pinus dalatensis, in 2004 a study trip was organised with the financial help from the I.D.R.I., with additional support from the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. In cooperation with the Department of Botany, Institute of Ecology and Biological Resources (Hanoi) and the Department of Ecology, Da Lat University (Lam Dong) we travelled to Dak Doa district.
Found in 1994 near the town of Yécora, Sonora, Pinus yecorensis turned to be a characteristic hard pine growing (at the type locality) at around 1800 m. Subsequently it was also found 230 km south of Yécora in Chihuahua near the Sonora border, as reported by Rick Fencl.