Characteristics of Eastern White Pine Tree (Pinus strobus) in the Wild

Pinus strobus
Eastern white pine or simply called White pine is a large conifer tree species native to North America. It grows from Newfoundland, western Canada, Great Lakes, Manitoba, Minnesota, United States, along the Appalachian Mountains and Piedmont, as well as northernmost Georgia.

Native Americans named it “Tree of Peace”, it is also known as “Weymouth Pine” in Great Britain.

Eastern white pine is found in mixed forest biomes of eastern North America. The tree prefers dry or sandy soil and a humid climate. However, Eastern white pine can also grow in marshy areas and rocky uplands.

In mixed forest, the Eastern white pine is highly visible because it towers higher than many other trees. Due to the height of this tree, it provides a habitat for many forest birds and small mammals such as squirrels.

This tree used to grow a lot and even became forests in most parts of north-central and northeastern North America. Today, however, only one percent of Eastern white pine remains in the old forest after extensive logging operations in the 18th to early 20th centuries. One of the habitats now is the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and this tree is protected.

 

Characteristics of Eastern White Pine Leaf

Pinus strobus Leaf
Source : flickr.com/Brooklyn Botanic Garden

The leaves are needle, flexible, bluish-green, finely serrated, 5-13 cm long, are in clumps of 5 (rarely 3 or 4) with leaf sheaths, and last for 18 months from spring one season to the next autumn.

 

Characteristics of Eastern White Pine Fruit

Pinus strobus Fruit
Source : flickr.com/Forest People

The fruit is cones 8-16 cm long and 4-5 cm wide and has scaled with a rounded top and a slightly reflex tip.

 

Characteristics of Eastern White Pine Tree

Pinus strobus Tree
Source : flickr.com/Chris M Morris

Eastern white pine can grow as a giant tree up to 60 meters in the wild, making it the tallest tree in North America.

One specimen of Eastern white pine known as “Boogerman Pine” grows in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is 63 meters high and is the tallest tree accurately measured in North America east of the Rocky Mountains. The tree has been climbed and measured by tape drop by the Native Tree Society.

The eastern white pine alone can be up to 200-250 years old, and some can live up to more than 400 years. One of the trees growing near Syracuse, New York is 458 years old recorded in the late 1980s, and a tree in Michigan and Wisconsin that is about 500 years old.

 

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