Ponderosa pine

Silhouette - ponderosa pine
  • Latin name: Pinus ponderosa Dougl. ex P. & C. Laws.
  • French name: Pin ponderosa
  • Synonym(s): Western yellow pine
  • Taxonomic Serial Number: 183365
Description

Leaves

  • Needle bundle - ponderosa pine
  • Needle cross section - ponderosa pine

Form

  • Needles evergreen
  • In bundles of 3 (occasionally 2 or 5)
  • Straight, stiff but flexible, very sharp
  • Edges sharply toothed
  • Bundle-sheath persistent

Length

  • 12–25 cm

Colour

  • Dark yellowish-green

Buds

  • Terminal bud - ponderosa pine

Form

  • Sharp-pointed, usually resinous

Length

  • 15–20 mm

Twigs

Form

  • Stout, hairless

Colour

  • Yellowish-green, changing to orange-brown in the second season

Seed cones (mature)

  • Cone scale outer surface (left), seed and cone scale inner surface with winged seed (center), cone scale profile (right) - ponderosa pine

Form

  • Cylindrical to narrowly ovoid when closed
  • Pendulous
  • Almost stalkless
  • Often in groups of 3

Length

  • 7–15 cm

Colour

  • Lustrous reddish-brown

Structure

  • Scales thickened at the tips, bearing rigid, sharp prickles

Timing

  • Open at maturity to release the seeds
  • Cones usually fall during winter, leaving their stalks with a few basal scales attached to the branchlets

Seeds

Form

  • Mottled
  • With a boat-shaped terminal wing

Length

  • Seed about 7 mm
  • Seed wing about 20 mm

Colour

  • Dark brown

Seedlings

Form

  • 5–12 cotyledons, toothless, occasionally sparsely toothed on the midvein near the base

Length

  • 25–60 mm

Bark

Form

  • Rough and scaly when young
  • With age becoming deeply fissured into large, flat, flaky plates, 2–10 cm thick

Colour

  • Dark grey when young, with age becoming orange-brown

Wood

Texture

  • Uniform in texture
  • Moderately strong and hard

Colour

  • Heartwood yellowish to reddish-brown
  • Sapwood nearly white to pale yellow

Morphology

  • Heartwood moderately decay-resistant
  • Sapwood very wide

Uses

  • Window sashes and frames, siding, door moldings, paneling, patterns, cabinetwork, boxes, and crates

Size

Height

  • To 35 m, occasionally 50 m

Diameter

  • To 100 cm

Maximum age

  • Several hundred years

Tree form

  • Silhouette - ponderosa pine

Forest-grown

Trunk

  • Straight, with little taper
  • Often branch-free for most of its length

Crown

  • Wide, irregularly cylindrical, flat-topped in old trees
  • Branches stout, lower ones often drooping
  • Upper ones on old crowns ascending

Root system

  • Very wide-spreading
  • Often with a deep, massive taproot up to 2 m long
  • Very windfirm

Habitat

Site

  • Occurs on a wide variety of soils

Light tolerance

  • Intolerant of shade

Associated species

  • In pure open stands, especially at lower elevations in areas subject to frequent forest fires
  • Also in mixed stands with Douglas-fir and western larch at elevations up to 1500 m

Range

Southern part of interior British Columbia

Insects and diseases

Insects and diseases that are found most frequently and/or that cause the most damage in our Canadian forests.

Photos
  • Ponderosa pine
  • Ponderosa pine
  • Ponderosa pine
  • Ponderosa pine
  • Ponderosa pine
  • Ponderosa pine
Distribution map
Distribution map - ponderosa pine
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