Native Plant of the Month: Ponderosa pine

Photo of Ponderosa Pine.

Common Name: Ponderosa pine

Binomial Name: Pinus ponderosa

Soil Type: Well drained, moist to fairly dry

Sunlight: Full sun

Plant Type: Evergreen tree

Form: Upright straight trunk

Foliage: Needles (in bundles of 3)  

The best way to determine a ponderosa pine from the many other types of pine trees is by counting the needles they are usually in groups of three and extra‐long (9 to 11 inches). Another way of identifying is the bark, when young the bark is blackish in color, when they are mature the bark develops deep grooves with flaky orange bark and deep black grooves.

The ponderosa pine is a moderate to fast grower and can reach heights of 50 to 100 feet tall in urban settings and around 200 feet tall in the wild. Often grown as bonsai trees or planted in tall groves these trees are not very picky about soil types as long as it is on the dry side. The thick bark makes these trees very fire‐resistant and decay‐ resistant in forest settings. Ponderosa pines can be seen filling the sky line all over Beaverton, But Beaverton’s “city park” near the library at 5th street and Watson Street is one of the most popular places to see the big ponderosa’s.