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Wasowski, Sally and Andy
Pinus ponderosa Lawson & C. Lawson
Ponderosa pine, Western yellow pine
USDA Symbol: pipo
USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)
Ponderosa pine grows 60-150 ft. in cultivation (as much as 258 ft. in the wild) with a pyramidal, open crown. Old trees are devoid of branches for more than 1/2 of their height. Branches are short and pendulous, often turned up at the ends. Bark is cinnamon-brown to yellow-orange and flaky. Dark, gray-green to yellowish-green needles are long and occur in tufts of two or three at the ends of the twigs. Large to very large tree with broad, open, conical crown of spreading branches; 3 distinct geographic varieties.
This is the most widely distributed and common pine in North America. The typical variety, Ponderosa Pine or Pacific Ponderosa Pine (var. ponderosa), has long needles, 3 in a bundle, and large cones, and occurs in the Pacific Coast region. Rocky Mountain Ponderosa Pine or Interior Ponderosa Pine (var. scopulorum Engelm.) with short needles, 2 in a bundle, and small cones, is found in the Rocky Mountain region. Arizona Pine or Arizona Ponderosa Pine (var. arizonica (Engelm.) Shaw), occurring mainly in southeastern Arizona, has 5 slender needles in bundle. David Douglas, the Scottish botanical explorer, found this pine in 1826 and named it for its ponderous, or heavy, wood. This valuable timber tree is the most commercially important western pine. Its lumber is especially suited for window frames and panel doors. Quail, nutcrackers, squirrels, and many other kinds of wildlife consume the seeds; and chipmunks store them in their caches, thus aiding dispersal.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Tree Leaf Retention: Evergreen Leaf Arrangement: Fascicled Leaf Complexity: Simple Leaf Shape:
Linear Breeding System:
, Monoecious Size Notes:
Many specimen top 150 ft. One specimen tops 258 ft. in height. Leaf:
Green Fruit: Size Class:
More than 100 ft.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Red , Yellow
Bloom Time: Apr
, WY Canada: BC Native Distribution:
Primarily Rocky Mts. & Pacific Coast mts.; also Trans-Pecos, TX,
& w. NE, SD
& ND Native Habitat:
Rocky hills; low elevations in mountains
Growing ConditionsWater Use:
Medium Light Requirement:
Sun , Part Shade , Shade Soil Moisture:
Dry , Moist Soil pH:
Acidic (pH<6.8) CaCO3 Tolerance:
Low Soil Description:
Deep, sandy, gravelly or clay loams. Conditions Comments:
This drought resistant pine tolerates alkalinity, salt and most moisture regimes. It is susceptible to root rot, blister rusts and needle
blight, as well as a variety of insect-related problems.
Larval Host: Pine White (Neophasia menapia)
Sow fresh, untreated seed in late fall. Seedlings have a better survival rate if planted in containers instead of directly into the field. Seed Collection:
Collect cones from vigorous trees in late summer and fall just before they completely open to drop seeds. Spread cones on racks to dry so they will release seeds. Cones may be shaken to release seeds. Store at a moisture content of 5-10 %
fresh weight. Commercially Avail:
Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)
is a larval host and/or nectar source for:
Mr. Smarty Plants says
Replacing grass with xeric plants in Nevada
March 20, 2009
I am looking to xeriscape my front yard - remove all grass! I am thinking 3-4 larger plants: bird of paradise (mesquite??), aloe, and ..?? Also, possibly a Chilean mesquite.
Do you have suggestio...
view the full question and answer
National Wetland Indicator Status
|Status:|| FACU || UPL || FACU |
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.
From the National Organizations Directory
According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is either on display or available from the following:
Santa Barbara Botanic Garden
- Santa Barbara, CA
Record Last Modified: 2014-03-28
Research By: TWC Staff