Eastern White Pine


eastern white pine 02

eastern white pine 03

eastern white pine 04

                      Eastern White Pine                     

(Pinus Strobus)

Interesting Information About Plant: 

The Eastern White Pine is found in North America, specifically the northeast.  It is the provincial tree for Ontario and the state tree of Michigan and Maine.  During the last Ice Age the Eastern White Pines were pushed south from Canada and are found today as far south as North Carolina.  The Eastern White Pines are slowly migrating west and were found in Minnesota by Europeans explorers in the late 1700s and early 1800s.  Native American tribes would eat the inner bark of the White Pine as a food source when all other food was scarce.  The Iroquois would use the resin from this plant, while mixing it with beeswax, to seal their canoes.  Other Native Americans would boil the bark and then apply the liquid to wounds.  Natives also would drink the boiled bark for a cough suppressant.  Once Europeans starting settling North America this tree was cut down a lot for ships.  Particularly the Royal Navy exploited the Eastern White Pine when they were the strongest navy in the world.  Today the main uses for this tree are for furniture and Christmas Trees.  It is used extensively for furniture because it is very easy to carve and the Eastern White Pine has less resin than other pines.  This pine also warps less than most other pine wood.  There is widespread cultivation for Christmas trees because they are very easy to cultivate, especially in the tree’s indigenous areas.

The bark is gray-brown in color and possesses broad ridges and scaly plates.  The cones are slender and thorn less baring two winged seeds.  The roots are wide spreading and somewhat deep.  It has been recorded that the white eastern pine can live to 450 years old, but usually lives to be 200 years old.  The tree grows to 80-110 feet tall and has a spread of 20-40 feet wide. It prefers well drained soils and a cool humid climate.  The tree can be attacked by a fungus commonly known as “white pine blister rust”.  Since the bark is thick it allows the tree to be somewhat fire resistant. It has been grown extensively through the years as Christmas trees. Small mammals eat the two winged seeds in the cones and in the winter rabbits chew on the outer bark.

Scientific Name:   Pinus Strobus

Family Name (Scientific and Common):   Pinaceae – The Pine Family

Continent of Origin:     Northern North America

Plant Growth Habit:       Tree

Height at Maturity:  More than 10 Feet

Life Span:  Perennial

Seasonal Habit:      Evergreen Perennial  

Growth Habitat:    Partial Sun 

Manner of Culture:    Landscape Tree  /  Native Species 

Thorns on Younger Stem:      No

Cross Section of Younger Stem:      Roundish   

Stem (or Trunk) Diameter:     More Than The Diameter of a Coffee-Mug 

Produces Brownish Bark:   Yes 

Bark Peeling in Many Areas:     No

Characteristics of Mature (Brownish) Bark:    Lines Go Up-Down   /   Bumpy  

Type of Leaf:   Needle-Like

Length of Leaf (or Leaflet):    Between the Length of a Credit Card and a Writing-Pen    

Leaf Complexity:     Simple 

Edge of Leaf:      Smooth 

Leaf Arrangement:    Whorled (3 or more leaves per node)

Leaf has Petiole:    Yes 

Patterns of Main-Veins on Leaf (or Leaflet):     Parallel 

Leaf Hairiness:       No Hairs

Color of Foliage in Summer:  Green   

Change in Color of Foliage in October:      No Change    

Flowering Season:        Autumn

Flowers:     Tightly Clustered  

Type of Flower:   Like a Pine Cone  

Color of Flower:    Yellow color with male flower/ Red color with female flower

Shape of Individual Flower:        Other

Size of Individual Flower:     Between a Quarter and the Length of a Credit Card  

Sexuality:    Male and Female on Same Plant

Size of Fruit:     Larger than the Length of a Credit Card

Fruit Fleshiness:     Dry

Shape of Fruit:    Winged seeds

Color of Fruit at Maturity:      Brown or Dry

Fruit Desirable to Birds or Squirrels:        Yes 

Common Name(s):    Eastern white pine, Northern white pine, Soft pine

Louisville Plants That Are Most Easily Confused With This One:     Other Pine trees (dr)

Unique Morphological Features of Plant:     5 blue-green needles per fascicle

Poisonous:   None of Plant

Pestiness (weedy, hard to control):   No


Page prepared by:   

Julia Broaddus & Derek Price                            


November 2004


Information - 502.452.8000
© Bellarmine University, Louisville, KY 2002-2004