Western white pine

Pinus monticola
Western white pine Western white pine

A large tree, up to 60 metres high. It usually grows in closed groups of trees and has a short, open crown.

Western white pine leaves

Needles occur in bunches of five, about 5 to 10 centimetres long. Slender, straight, and soft to touch, they are bluish-green in colour with a whitish tinge, and the edges are very finely toothed.

Seed cones are cylindrical when closed, about 10 to 25 centimetres long, and they occur on a 2 centimetre stalk; the scales are often bent backwards when dry. The seeds have wings about 3 centimetres long.

Western white pine cone
Western white pine bark Bark
When the trees are young, the bark is thin, smooth, and greyish-green. It turns darker as it gets older and forms deep, vertical grooves, with small rectangular scaly plates.

Where to find western white pine
It is commonly found in the drier parts of Vancouver Island, the adjacent mainland coast and in the wetter parts of the southern Interior, particularly at low elevations.

Western white pine thrives in a variety of environments, ranging from peat bogs to dry, sandy, or rocky soil. It does best on sites that are rich in nutrients and well drained, in moist valleys and on gentle northern slopes.

The Thompson people made a medicine from the boughs of western white pine.Caution

The wood is ideal for carving because of its fine grain and uniform texture. It is also prized for special construction purposes, pattern making and furniture.

Where to find western white pine
Western white pine is susceptible to white pine blister rust, which causes portions of the tree to turn an orangey-brown colour and die. The rust is difficult to control and prevents the tree from being of commercial importance.

The botanist David Douglas first identified western white pine on the slopes of Mount St. Helens. It gets its common name from the light colour of the wood. The Latin name monticola means "inhabiting mountains."

Previous <<    >> Next