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Pinus strobus

Previously known as:

  • Leucopitys strobus
  • Strobus strobus
Phonetic Spelling
PI-nus STRO-bus
Description

Eastern white pine is an evergreen conifer tree in the Pinaceae (pine) family. This pine’s origin is in the northeastern United States and Canada. It may grow 50 to 80 feet tall and 20 to 40 feet wide. 

Eastern white pine grows naturally in high, dry, sandy and rocky ridges and is tolerant of a wide range of soil conditions. It prefers full sun; moist, well-drained, fertile sandy loams; and cool, humid climates. It is intolerant of many air pollutants such as sulfur dioxide and ozone, salts, and alkaline soils. 

This pine is an important timber tree (perhaps more so in the 18th and 19th centuries than now) valued for its lightweight, straight-grained wood. It is utilized as a Christmas tree in large areas such as parks, commercial areas, and estates. The pine cones are sold as tree decorations for models, model railroading, and Christmas decorations. 

This plant is an attractive, ornamental, landscape tree, singly and in hedges, borders, or woodland areas. Alternatively, plant it in a native, butterfly, pollinator, or nighttime garden, as it will attract butterflies and other pollinators, songbirds, and small mammals.

Fire Risk: This plant has a high flammability rating and should not be planted within the defensible space of your home. Select plants with a low flammability rating for the sites nearest your home. 

Quick ID Hints:

  • Gymnosperm tree with branches and twigs whorled
  • Needles are bluish-green, soft, pliable, and in fives
  • Cones are narrow cylindrical, scales whiten at the apex

Insects, Diseases, or Other Plant Problems:  It is susceptible to blights, canker, and rusts, especially white pine blister rust, which is usually fatal. Insect problems include white pine weevil, bark beetles, white pine shoot borer, Zimmerman moth larvae, pine sawfly, scale, and aphids. Spider mites are occasional visitors in some areas. This tree is susceptible to wind damage.  

VIDEO Created by Homegrown featuring Jeff Owen, Area Extension Forestry Specialist for NC State Extension

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscapes:
Bonsai Garden Mountain Ridge Top Garden - North Lawn and Upper Drive Border
Cultivars / Varieties:
'Alba', 'Fastigiata', 'Nana', 'Pendula', 'Sea Urchin', 'Umbraculifera'
Tags:
#evergreen#specimen#wildlife plant#large tree#native tree#moths#conifer#bonsai#cover plant#tsc#rabbit resistant#attracts squirrels#food source wildlife#cpp#fire high flammability#fire extreme flammability#NC native#mice#black bears#beavers#porcupines#needled evergreen#deer resistant#nighttime garden#pollinator plant#Braham Arboretum#fantz#larval host plant#food source fall#food source herbage#bird friendly#food source hard mast fruit#moth larvae#Piedmont Mountains FACU#Coastal FACU#Christmas trees#Christmas decorations#tsc-cg#Audubon#wind damage prone#imperial moth#landscape plant sleuths course#cone
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
'Alba', 'Fastigiata', 'Nana', 'Pendula', 'Sea Urchin', 'Umbraculifera'
Tags:
#evergreen#specimen#wildlife plant#large tree#native tree#moths#conifer#bonsai#cover plant#tsc#rabbit resistant#attracts squirrels#food source wildlife#cpp#fire high flammability#fire extreme flammability#NC native#mice#black bears#beavers#porcupines#needled evergreen#deer resistant#nighttime garden#pollinator plant#Braham Arboretum#fantz#larval host plant#food source fall#food source herbage#bird friendly#food source hard mast fruit#moth larvae#Piedmont Mountains FACU#Coastal FACU#Christmas trees#Christmas decorations#tsc-cg#Audubon#wind damage prone#imperial moth#landscape plant sleuths course#cone
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Pinus
    Species:
    strobus
    Family:
    Pinaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Used for tar, furniture, christmas tree and bark used as astringent and expectorant or antiseptic.
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Central and Eastern Canada, Central and Eastern United States
    Distribution:
    Native: United States--AL, CT, DE, GA, IL, IN, IA, KY, ME MD, MA, MI, MN, NH, NJ, NY, NC, OH, PA, RI, SC, TN, VT, VA, WV, and WI; Canada--Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, and Quebec. Introduced: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Central European Russia, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Korea, Norway, Poland, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and Turkey.
    Fire Risk Rating:
    high flammability
    Wildlife Value:
    This plant supports Imperial Moth (Eacles imperialis) larvae which have one brood per season and appear from April-October in the south. Adult Imperial Moths do not feed. Its white pine seeds are favored by black bears, rabbits, red squirrels, and many birds.  The bark is eaten by mammals such as beavers, porcupines, rabbits, and mice. The tree also serves as a shelter for many birds and small mammals.
    Play Value:
    Wildlife Cover/Habitat
    Wildlife Food Source
    Dimensions:
    Height: 50 ft. 0 in. - 80 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 20 ft. 0 in. - 40 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Needled Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Conical
    Horizontal
    Oval
    Pyramidal
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    24-60 feet
    more than 60 feet
    NC Region:
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    3a, 3b, 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Length:
    > 3 inches
    Fruit Description:
    No fruits. Cylindrical, brown, resinous cones on the Eastern White Pine (4-8" long) are usually not produced until the tree reaches 5-10 years old. They fully mature by the summer of the second season, releasing seeds in July and August and persisting through September. The cones are stalked, curved, and have white lines on the lower side, the scales lacking spines. Often curved that browns with age. Umbo is blunt and obtuse.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Insignificant
    Red/Burgundy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Description:
    No flowers, cones. In spring, cylindrical, yellow, male strobili, and the female strobili are light green tinged with red that matures in clusters appear in April.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Needled Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Blue
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Soft
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Leaf Type:
    Needles
    Simple
    Leaf Shape:
    Filiform
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    Bluish-green needles (3" to 5" long) are flexible, soft to the touch, and appear in bundles of five (5 per fascicle). Each needle has 3-5 white lines of stomata on two surfaces of the needle. The needle clusters are deciduous, falling off after approximately two years.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Brown
    Dark Gray
    Light Gray
    Surface/Attachment:
    Furrowed
    Smooth
    Bark Plate Shape:
    Round
    Bark Description:
    The bark is smooth and green with some lighter patches in young trees. As the tree ages, the bark turns reddish brown to dark gray with prominent finely-scaly, rounded, long ridges and darker furrows.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Gray/Silver
    Green
    Orange
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    The stems are grayish-green to orangish-brown. The buds are oval and reddish-brown.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Native Garden
    Nighttime Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Hedge
    Screen/Privacy
    Shade Tree
    Specimen
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Moths
    Pollinators
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Rabbits