* Needles in clusters of 5. (A handy recognition tip: "white" has 5 letters,
white pine has 5 needles in a cluster.)
* Needles thin, 3-5" long.
* Cones slender, tapering, and
thornless, 3-10" long.
* Height: Grows to over 200'.
* Diameter: 3'.
* Habitat: Lowland forests, also on bare ledges at medium elevation.
Prefers moist, sandy soils. Regenerates only where large areas of forests
have been destroyed by forces such as fire, or in abandoned farm fields.
* Range: Southeastern Canada to northeastern United States.
* White pine, because of its size and elegant, pagoda-like
shape, retains a regal status in northern forests. Unlike trees
such as maple, which only grow to reach the forest canopy and
then spread out, white pine continues to grow higher and higher
above the canopy, reaching 200 feet in some areas.
* "Tall arrowy white pines."
-Henry David Thoreau
* Early settlers in New England were awed and amazed by the
huge size of the white pines they encountered. Its light, soft
wood made it a desirable crop for the masts and figureheads of
ships. England began to depend upon white pine masts for ships
of the Royal Navy. Unrest grew among colonists when the trees
of their new land were demanded by the English Crown, and so
in a way the white pine played a significant role in the founding
of the United States. In fact, the first flag of the Revolutionary
forces depicted a white pine.
* Nearly all of America's virgin white pine stands exist no
longer, having been logged and exploited in the monumental process
of building a country. The conservation movement came too late
to save the ancient trees, but their demise raised the awareness
of American leaders such as Theodore Roosevelt, who founded the
National Park Service in part to save the virgin forests of the