47. Western White Pine

(Pinus monticola)

Other Common Name: Idaho Pine

Family: Pinaceae

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East of the flagpole are two Western White Pines, two Eastern White Pines, and an Austrian black pine. How do you tell who's who? The Austrian stands out with squat cones and dark blackish-green foliage. Western white pine, compared to its eastern cousin, is narrower, darker, has chunkier bark, larger cones, and stiffer needles, and is more blue-green. Also, the twigs are usually stouter and always hairier as you peer between the needle bundles. The two species are equally prized for lumber; as ornamentals the eastern is preferred, since it is less dense, therefore less prone to being blown over in storms. Most large white pines on campus are eastern, although the western is native here.


All pine seeds are edible, but the seeds of this species are fairly small and mainly used as a seasoning. A tea made from the fresh needles is aromatic and high in vitamins A and C. A candy can be made by boiling the tender new shoots in syrup. The wood is appreciated for decorative uses such as paneling because it has dark knots.

[Leaves and cone of Western White Pine]

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