Native Plant of the Month: Western White Pine

Picture of Western White Pine.Common Name: Western White Pine

Binomial Name: Pinus monticola

Soil Type: Tolerates moist to fairly dry soils

Sunlight: Full sun or light shade

Plant Type: Large tree

Form: Pyramidal

Foliage: Evergreen

Fruit/Flower: Cones

Western white pines can be found from southern British Columbia south through the Olympics and Cascades. They reach all the way down through Oregon and into California and as far east as Idaho, western Montana and western Nevada. They can be found in a variety of types of soil from sandy to rocky and they can tolerate moist or fairly dry soils.

The Western white pine is a very large tree reaching heights of 150 feet and can live to be as old as 400 years. They are similar and can often be mistaken as a sugar pine which has 5 needles as well. Some distinct characters that can tell them apart are the cones and the bark. Sugar pine cones are about twice as long as white pine cones. The bark of sugar pine have long plates and are reddish brown in color and white pine are broken into small squares and are grey in color. Another common characteristic of white pine is that the bark is smooth and grey as a young tree.