Colorado Plant Database

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PONDEROSA PINE - Pinus ponderosa

IMAGE
Courtesy of Lookout Mountain Nature Center, lmnc.jeffco.us
Courtesy of Lookout Mountain Nature Center, lmnc.jeffco.us
Courtesy of Lookout Mountain Nature Center, lmnc.jeffco.us
Courtesy of Lookout Mountain Nature Center, lmnc.jeffco.us

IDENTIFICATION
Common Name: PONDEROSA PINE
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
ECOLOGY
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.

WEED MANAGEMENT

LANDSCAPING
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.

HUMAN CONNECTIONS
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: 2.7.0      Release Date: January 2014       ©2010 Jefferson County ITS

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