45. Eastern White Pine

(Pinus strobus)

Other Common Names: White Pine, Northern White Pine, Soft Pine, Weymouth Pine, Tree Of Great Peace

Family: Pinaceae

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West of the flagpole are two Eastern White Pines. This species is eastern North America's most important forest tree and is the State Tree of both Maine and Michigan. Its towering height, abundance, valuable wood, and graceful beauty make it stand out. The name white pine contrasts it with black and red pines, which have darker foliage and heavier, pitchier wood, and whose needles are borne in bundles of two or three instead of five like white pines. The cones are usually 4- to 8- inches (10.2- to 20.3- centimeters) long and banana-like.

The wood was used for many purposes from ship masts to matches. Freshly cut white pine is creamy white or pale straw in color, but after aging for many years it tends to take on a deep rich tan. A tea made from the young needles is used to treat a sore throat, and as with all pines the oil is effective in treating burns. White pine grows in well-drained soil and cool, humid climates but also appears in boggy areas and rocky highlands. Squirrels and many forest birds look to this tree for food and shelter.

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