This photo is one I cropped a little more for you to see the layers of branching on the Pinus strobus. As we drove along the highway I kept thinking that this branching structure reminded me of something....what was it? Sure the tree would lend itself to be a nice Christmas tree.
This is a native pine, one of the most valuable trees in the United States. According to the Silvics Manual the native range includes New England, south through the Appalachian Mountains. It is a rapid grower and is prized for its lumber as well as being used for Christmas trees! It is one of the most planted trees in America.
Pinus strobus is monoecious and female flowers appear when the tree is about 5- 10 years old but the male flowers don't show up until much later. The female flowers are up in the upper crown of the tree. Good seed production doesn't really happen until the tree is far more mature, upwards of 20- 30 years. Even after good production the tree doesn't have good seed years every year. This occurs about every 3- 5 years. The VTech web fact sheet has a good photo of the cones. The seeds are a good food source for many birds and animals.
Eastern White Pines are long lived trees, if left undisturbed. Ages averaging 200 years is not uncommon though there are some that have been recorded to be 450 years old. The form of this tree is pyramidal with a strong central leader. Heights of 150 feet were common in virgin forests of white pine though average heights are 70 - 100 feet. Two champion trees --one in Michigan is 158 feet tall and one in Maine, 147 feet tall.
The limbs on this tree live longer than most pines, about 15 years. Limbs persist on the tree for more than 25 years after they die.
This tree is recognized by its leaves, clustered in bunches of five slender, flexible needles. According to the VTech sheet they can be 3 to 5 inches long.
The leaves are arranged tightly along the limbs. There is a bluish green coloring to the needles.
Thanks for visiting another installment of the tree series. Next week, another tree.
©Copyright 2011 Janet. All rights reserved. Content created by Janet for The Queen of Seaford. words and photos by Janet,The Queen of Seaford.