Pinus lambertiana Douglas
Pinaceae (Pine Family)
USDA Symbol: pila
The largest of all pines, this species can grow more than 200 ft. tall. When young, the crown is narrow. With age the branches are well-spaced and wide-spreading, creating a flat-topped crown. Older bark is reddish-brown with plate-like ridges. Cones can be up to 18 in. long. Needles are in groups of five. Large, very tall tree with a straight trunk unbranched for a long span and open, conical crown of long, nearly horizontal branches, bearing giant cones near the ends; becoming flat-topped.
A major lumber species, Sugar Pine is one of the most beautiful and largest pines and has been called the king of pines. The trunk diameter occasionally reaches 6-8 (1.8-2.4 m); the current champion is 10 (3 m) in diameter, and the tallest tree recorded was 241 (73.5 m) high. No other conifer has such long cones, reaching a maximum of 21 (53 cm). Sugar Pine provided early settlers of California with wood for their houses, especially shingles or shakes, and with fences. Forty-niners made ample use of the wood for flumes, sluice boxes, bridges, and mine timbers. American Indians gathered and ate the large, sweet seeds. The common name refers to the sweetish resin that exudes from cut or burned heartwood which was also eaten by Indians.
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Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Shape: Linear
Size Class: More than 100 ft.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Brown
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May
DistributionUSA: CA , NV , OR
Native Distribution: Mts. from s. CA to OR; n. Mex.
Native Habitat: Yellow pine & red fir forests from 2500-9000 ft.
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry
CaCO3 Tolerance: None
Soil Description: Rocky soils.
Conditions Comments: Sugar pine is best grown in groves. It is susceptible to blister rust.
PropagationDescription: Propagate by seed.
Seed Collection: Not Available
Commercially Avail: yes
Find Seed or Plants
Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.
View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR
Recommended Species Lists
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Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Pinus lambertiana in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Pinus lambertiana in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Pinus lambertiana
MetadataRecord Modified: 2007-01-01
Research By: TWC Staff