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PONDEROSA PINE - Pinus ponderosa

Courtesy of Lookout Mountain Nature Center,
Courtesy of Lookout Mountain Nature Center,
Courtesy of Lookout Mountain Nature Center,
Courtesy of Lookout Mountain Nature Center,

Other Common Names: western yellow pine
Scientific Name: Pinus ponderosa
Derivation: ponderosa - heavy.
Family: Pine - Pinaceae
Species Characteristics: needles in "packages" (fascicles) of 3 or 2; female cones large, up to 6 inches long; male cones up to 2 inches long.
Mature Height: 80 to 150 feet.
Mature Spread: 25 to 30 feet.
Flower Color: male - yellow; female - brown.
Fruit Color: green
Fruit Type: cone (seed bearing structure in conifers).
Leaf Type: needle
Origin: native
Frequency: common
Growth Form: tree
Class: gymnosperm (plant with naked seed as in conifers).
Season of Bloom: spring (Mar. - May).
Life Zone: foothills/montane.
Habitat: exposed hillsides, mesas, and south-facing slopes.
Eco. Relationships: a very large, long-needled, dominant conifer that forms extensive, intermittent stands in the Intermountain West; anemophily (wind pollination) is an effective pollination mechanism for plants such as this which are very numerous and grow in relatively windy regions; along with other pine, fir and Douglas-fir species, one of host plants for pine white butterfly.


Availability: commonly available.
Landscaping Use: mass planting, windbreak, focal point.
Moisture Requirement: drought tolerant, requires infrequent irrigation.
Light Requirement: full sun, but will tolerate some shade.
Soil Requirement: well drained, sandy or gravelly soil; tolerates well drained alkaline soil; pH 6.5 to 7.0.

Toxicity: browsing on needles may cause livestock abortion.
Edibilty: needle tea is pleasant and has reputed diuretic and expectorant property; inner bark tea and pitch are stronger expectorants.
Other Uses: Native Americans used cones as kindling for fires; wood is used commercially for boxes, crates, and mill products; one of the most valuable timber species in the Intermountain West along with Douglas-fir.

Version: 3.0.0      Release Date: August 2015       ©2015 Jefferson County ITS

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