Named for their ponderous size, the Ponderosa Pine Trees are the giants of the forest. Also called the Western Yellow Pine, these trees are an essential part of the NW lumber economy. From their past usage as railroad ties and telegraph poles to today’s furniture veneer and lumber, this pine tree has produced billions of board feet of lumber for a multitude of uses.
While many Ponderosa pines are 100+ feet, John Muir recorded the largest of these pines at over 220 feet tall and 8 feet in diameter on the Pacific coast. These trees can form a pyramidal shape, as pictured below, but many mature trees will have virtually zero horizontal branches for the bottom 40-50 feet! A mature Ponderosa is thought to be at least 150 years old.
The Ponderosa Pine is home to many birds and smaller wildlife mammals. From the chickadees, doves, and finches to the squirrels, chipmunks, and turkey, the Ponderosa Pine has many woodland friends. And if other food sources evade them, even the mighty elk and white-tailed deer may browse on the Ponderosa Pine needles.
Below is a summary of tree facts for the Ponderosa Pine:
|Scientific Name:||Pinus ponderosa|
|Leaf Length & Color:||3-5 inch needles
|Fall Leaf Color:||No change|
|Unique Characteristics:||Tall evergreens of the forest;
Rounded, conical pinecones.
The Ponderosa Pine is the official State tree of Montana and is predominantely found in the western and northwestern states of the U.S.