How to identify an Eastern White Pine


Yup. Back with the cones.

Pinus strobus, the Eastern White Pine, has got lovely long cones. The ones here always seem to have white chunks of some type of plant based matter which is useful to notice since White Pines are the ones with the White Gunk on their cones.

The needles are in (usually) groups of five. The name has the most syllables of the pines in this group, so it has the most needles in its bundles.

They may not lose their lower limbs like the Loblollies or the Shortleafs, so can retain the traditional christmas tree shape.


Horizontal hashmarks and medium thick bark.

The bark is medium thick and the nearby trees seem to have little horizontal cracks or scratches. Sort of like laugh lines around the eyes, only they’re trees, so don’t have eyes. Anyway, the plates of bark have tiny horizontal scratches.

They are general pioneering trees. They prefer damp, cool forests, but can cope with just about anything. If nothing more suited shows up to colonize an area, they work as a sort of second best or also ran pioneering pine. North Carolina is on the southern edge of their range. And they can get pretty decent sized.


“Pinus strobus.” Encyclopedia of Life, available from Accessed January 18, 2016.

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