Eastern White Pine

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Eastern White Pine
Conservation status: Secure
Missing image

Eastern White Pine
Scientific classification
Species:P. strobus

Template:Taxobox section binomial botany

Eastern White Pine (Pinus strobus) is a large pine native to eastern North America, occurring from Newfoundland west to Minnesota and southeasternmost Manitoba, and south along the Appalachian Mountains to the extreme north of Georgia.

It is a member of the white pine group, Pinus subgenus Strobus, and like all members of that group, the leaves ('needles') are in fascicles (bundles) of five, with a deciduous sheath. They are flexible, blue-green, finely serrated, and 5-13 cm long, and persist for usually about 18 months. The cones are slender, 8-16 cm long (rarely slightly longer) and 4-5 cm broad when open, and have scales with a rounded apex and slightly reflexed tip. The seeds are 4-5 mm long, with a slender 15-20 mm wing, and are wind-dispersed. Cone production peaks every 3 to 5 years. Mature trees can be 200 years old; some live as long as 400 years. It prefers well-drained soil and cool, humid climates, but also grows in boggy areas and rocky highlands.

Missing image
A large Eastern White Pine cone

Eastern White Pine is the tallest tree in eastern North America. In natural pre-colonial stands it grew to about 70 m tall, but current trees typically reach 30-50 m tall with a diameter of 1-1.6 m. Very few of the original trees remain untouched by extensive logging operations in the 1700s and 1800s to harvest the valuable wood. One survivor is a specimen known as the "Boogerman Pine" in the Cataloochee Valley, Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This tree is, at 56.5 m tall, the tallest tree in North America east of the Rocky Mountains. Before it lost its top in Hurricane Opal in October 1995, it was 63 m tall.

Because the tree is somewhat resistant to fire, mature survivors are able to re-seed burned areas. In pure stands the trees usually have no branches on the lower half of the trunk. In mixed forests, this dominant tree towers over all others, including the large hardwoods. It provides food and shelter for forest birds such as the Red Crossbill and small mammals such as squirrels. The White Pine Weevil (Pissodes strobi) and White Pine Blister Rust (Cronartium ribicola), an introduced fungus, can damage or kill these trees.

During the age of sail, the tall trees with their high quality wood were valued for masts, and many trees were marked in colonial times with the broad arrow, reserving them for the British Royal Navy. An unusual large, lone, white pine was found in colonial times, in coastal South Carolina along the Black River (way south of its normal range), and the king's mark was put upon this particular tree, giving rise to the town, Kingstree.

Eastern White Pine is now widely grown in plantation forestry within its native area. Several cultivars have been developed for garden use, many of them dwarf with very slow growth. The species was imported into England by Captain George Weymouth in 1620, who planted it widely for a future timber crop, but with little success due to White Pine Blister Rust disease.

Eastern White Pine is the Provincial tree of Ontario and the State tree of Maine and Michigan. It is also occasionally known as White Pine, Northern White Pine, or Soft Pine. It is also known as Weymouth Pine, especially in Britain. In addition, this tree is known to the Haudenosaunee Native Americans as the Tree of Great Peace.

White Pine needles contain five times the amount of Vitamin C (by weight) of lemons, and make an excellent tea. The inner bark (cambium) is edible. It is also a source of resveratrol.

External links

nl:Weymouthden pl:Sosna wejmutka


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