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Pinus banksiana Lamb.
Jack pine, Gray pine, Scrub pine
Synonym(s): Pinus divaricata
USDA Symbol: piba2
USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)
An irregular, conical to flat-topped evergreen, 50-75 ft. tall. Short, stiff, olive-green needles grow in pairs from the rough, scaly twigs. Open-crowned tree with spreading branches and very short needles; sometimes a shrub. Variable-shaped cones remain closed until exposed to fire.
Jack Pine is a pioneer after fires and logging, although it is damaged or killed by fires. The cones usually remain closed for many years until opened by heat of fires or exposure after cutting. The northernmost New World pine, it extends beyond 65-degrees northern latitude in Mackenzie and nearly to the limit of trees eastward. Kirtlands warbler is dependent upon Jack Pine; this rare bird breeds only in north-central Michigan, where it is confined to dense stands of young pines following forest fires.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Tree Leaf Complexity: Simple Leaf Shape:
Brown Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Red , Yellow
Bloom Time: Apr , May
, WV Canada: AB
, YT Native Distribution:
N.S. & ME
to n. N.Y., n.e. IN,
n. IL, WI
northward Native Habitat:
Sterile, sandy, conifer woods
Growing ConditionsWater Use:
Low Light Requirement:
Sun Soil Moisture:
Dry Soil pH:
Acidic (pH<6.8) CaCO3 Tolerance:
Low Soil Description:
Sandy, acid sands. Conditions Comments:
Jack pine can grow farther north than any other pine. It is susceptible to rusts, insects and windthrow, and is intolerant of wet or alkaline soils, shade and heat. The fast-growing tree
matures in 60 years. It is not extremely ornamental but grows in soils too poor for most plants. Susceptible to the disease dwarf mistletoe, which attacks the tree
and produces thick witches brooms.
Useful to songbirds, game birds, and many mammals. Use Other:
Jack pines are useful in naturalization on poor soils. They make interesting specimen trees where a twisted gnarled appearance is wanted. (Williams)
Jack pines are the only known nesting sites for Kirtlands warbler, an endangered
species. However the stands must be pure Jack pine of at least 60 ha in size (Farrar) Attracts:
PropagationDescription: Seeds have no dormancy, or only a slight one, and will germinate immediately upon collection after a light stratification.
Seed Collection: Collect ripe cones, soak in hot water overnight, and leave on a sunny windowsill to open.
Seed Treatment: Pretreatment is usually not necessary, but germination of pine seeds exhibiting dormancy can be hastened by cold stratification.
Commercially Avail: yes
National Wetland Indicator Status
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1
(Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here
for map of regions.
Record Last Modified: 2012-10-20
Research By: TWC Staff