White Pine

Pinus strobus

needlesThe white pine is a large, straight-stemmed tree with a pyramidal crown. It grows 50 to 100 feet tall. It usually grows where there are limestone outcroppings and porous soils with good internal drainage.

The leaves are needles 3 to 5 inches long, bluish green on the upper surface, whitish beneath and occurring in bundles of five. The needles remain on the tree for two years.

needles and coneThe cone is slender, gradually tapering, 3 to 6 inches long with the ends of the cone scales prominently light tan to whitish and smooth. Cones are fully grown in the summer of the second season, opening to discharge seed that autumn.

On small branches and twigs, the bark is smooth. On older branches and the trunk, it breaks into broad, flat topped ridges and is dark gray.

Leaves: needles 3 to 5 in. long and in groups of fives

Cones: slender, thornless, 3 to 10 in. long

Bark: young stems thin, smooth and dark green; mature tree's bark is deeply furrowed.

Height: 80 to 100 ft.

Trunk Diameter: 2 to 3 1/2ft.

Longevity: maturity reached at 150 - 200 yrs.; some reported to be 450 yrs. old

Tolerance: intermediate

Range: southern Canada, Great Lake States, northeast and Appalachian Mountains.

Fun Facts:

  • Michigan state tree.
  • Tallest one in Marquette, Mich. is 180 ft.
  • Largest of the northeastern conifers.
  • Only conifer with five needles in a bundle, east of Rocky Mountains.
  • One needle for each letter of its first name: W-H-I-T-E.
  • Wood used in home construction.


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This key was developed by "bt" in June 1982. It was put into HTML format by Stephen Ostermiller in July 1997. Copies of the entire guide in zip format that may be taken to camp on a laptop are available to those who write.