Pinus monticola
(Idaho White Pine)

Class: Pinopsida
Order: Pinatae
Family: Pinaceae
Family Description: Pine
Key Characteristics:
Also known as Western Pine.
  • needles in 5's, bluish-green, 5-10 cm long, not sharp pointed
  • staminate cones in clusters, yellowish, approximately 1 cm long ovulate cones at tips of upper branches, often yellowish- purplish when young, maturing to 15-25 cm long and 6-9 cm in diameter; curved, with thin scales, yellowish-brown at maturity on short stalks.
  • 7-10 mm long, bicolored with yellow-brown tip and rest reddish to chocolate brown terminated by a wing 2-3 times as long as the seed;
  • cotyledons vary from 6 to 10.

General Description:
A slender tree with a short-branched, narrow symmetrical crown, up to 40 m tall and the trunk 1-1.5 m. diameter; bark checked into small nearly square plates; leaves 5-10 cm long, bluish-green, whitened by 2-6 role of stomata; cones 1-2.5 dm long, light brown; seed about 8 mm long and the wings 25 mm. This is our most valuable lumber tree in Idaho, forming dense, almost pure strands over large areas of the Clearwater River drainage and northward. Middle altitudes of moist situations of the Mts. W. Mont. to B. C., across N. Idaho and south to Calif.

Southern British Columbia to Sierra Nevada in California, western Nevada east to Northern Idaho and southwest Alberta.

Moist valleys to open, dry slopes varying from 0 to 6000 feet in elevation; the largest trees are found on deep, well drained, but wet soils; may occur in pure stands or mixed with Western Hemlock, Western Larch, Douglas Fir, Grand Fir and Western Red Cedar.

Blister Rust is a disease which adversely affects this species causing cankers on trunks and branches. It is an important lumber tree because of its large size, lightweight, knotless, straight-grained wood. It tends not to warp or shrink. Thus, it is valuable for doors, baseboards, interior finishing, floors, shelving, shutters and window frames and sashes.
It is valuable for wildlife for cover and food. The seeds are eaten buy squirrels, many species of birds such as pine grosbeaks, rosy finches, and nuthatches, and rodents such as white-footed mice. Bears claw the bark and eat the sweet sapwood. Porcupines eat the bark.

Important State References:
No information available at this time
Photos & information written by Dr. Karl E. Holte,© 2002