Though classifying a tree as a “pine tree” is common, there is no one single type of pine tree. There are many varieties within the Pinus tree genus, and they all vary greatly. With over 120 different species of pine, each displays slight differences that make them truly unique. They vary in bark color, cone shape, needle growth, as well as height, and pop up all over the United States and its neighboring countries. In fact, all over the world.
These trees, which are native to the Northern Hemisphere, are all part of the Pinaceae family. Since we’re from the Pacific Northwest, we’ll focus on some of the most beautiful trees in the Pinus tree genus. If you live in Oregon, there’s a good chance you see a type of this tree every day. You may even have them on your property. And not only are they beautiful, but they’re also quite useful specimens.
Pine trees are used for all types of things, but their biggest economic value comes in construction and paper products. People use tree service businesses like Mr. Tree for logging and lot clearing, and then they also sell their pines to businesses that create paper products, homes, furniture, and more. They can also be used as a source for oil, rosin, and turpentine, or just an ornamental addition to a property.
Are you curious to know if the trees on your property fall into this Pinaceae family? Here are just a few of the many trees that fall under the Pinus tree genus.
Western White Pine
The western white pine (Pinus monticola) is native to the western United States (hence its name) and Canada. Its wood is specifically popular for carving and furniture making, so if you need to remove some of these trees from your property, you could use a tree service business like us to make it happen.
Western white pines grow best in lowland fog forests with moist soil, which is why it thrives in the Pacific Northwest. Its bark is smooth and gray, and at maturity, it can reach up to 100 feet tall. The cones of this tree are unique: they’re long and usually yellow in color.
The sugar pine, also known as the Pinus lambertiana, is the largest species of pine. At maturity, it can commonly grow to 120 to 200 feet tall, but it has been known to exceed even that. The largest ever recorded was named the “Yosemite Giant” and was located in Yosemite National Park. It measured at 269.2 feet tall.
The needles of sugar pine trees grow in bundles of five and measure from two to four inches long. You’re likely to see this type of tree in the mountains of Oregon and California and even in some places in northwestern Mexico.
The lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta) is sometimes referred to as the shore pine because it is often found along the northwest coast of North America, reaching from Northern California to Alaska. It can grow to a height of 70 to 80 feet tall, and it’s usually around 20 feet in diameter. Its leaves, which are often yellowish-green in color, grow in bunches of two and are known to twist together, creating sharp spear points.
This species of Pinus tree, the Pinus ponderosa, is ever-present in the Willamette Valley of Oregon, but it can also be seen in the majority of western California, as well as in Mexico and some midwestern states. Its reddish-brown or yellow bark is a feature that helps to differentiate it from other pines. Its needles grow in bundles of 2 to 5, and its cones are round in shape and around 3 to 6 inches in length.
The limber pine (Pinus flexilis) can be found in eastern Oregon, as well as its neighboring midwestern states. It’s able to grow at elevations of 4,500 to 12,000 feet above sea level, as it prefers a dry environment with rocky slopes and ridges. It can mature to heights between 40 and 50 feet tall, and it has a contorted trunk. The limber pine’s bark is smooth and gray in color, with cones that are pale red or yellow.
The knobcone pine, also known as the Pinus attenuata, is an evergreen coniferous tree. Its typically straight trunk often grows up to be about 80 feet tall. The bark of this tree is usually dark brown or purple in color, with its branches being more of a reddish-brown. Unlike many Pinus trees, the knobcone’s leaves grow in bundles of three, and its seed cones remain closed for 20 years or more, and they open when exposed to fire. In the Oregon area, you can expect to see these in the southern region of the state, specifically in the Coast Range mountains.
The Jeffrey pine (Pinus jeffreyi) can be seen starting from southern Oregon and down to the Mexican coast. It grows best on dry mountain slopes. This species of pine can grow to a mature height between 80 and 120 feet tall and sports a straight trunk. The bark on Jeffrey pines is yellow-brown and deeply furrowed.
On the shorter side of the spectrum, whitebark pine trees (Pinus albicaulis) grow to a mature height of only 65 feet tall, with many being much shorter. Their bark is pale gray in color, but it can appear white from further away. In Oregon, these trees are mostly found in the Cascade Mountains, but they can also grow in the Rocky Mountains as well as in Northern Canada.
These are just a few of the very many trees that fall under the Pinus tree genus. If you’re lucky enough to have these types of trees on your property, you’ll want to make sure they’re well cared for so that they can thrive to their full potential. Mr. Tree offers a variety of residential, commercial, and industrial tree services to ensure your trees are growing well. And if you want them removed from your property, Mr. Tree can help with that as well.