Pinus ponderosa (Ponderosa Pine)
|Also known as:|
|Life cycle:||perennial woody|
|Habitat:||sun; urban landscapes, parks|
|Bloom season:||May - June|
|Plant height:||40 to 70 feet|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||GP: UPL MW: none NCNE: UPL|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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Flowers are borne in structures called cones (strobili) with separate male and female cones on the same tree. Male (pollen) cones are rounded cylindrical, 3/8 to ½ inch long, typically reddish to purplish in color, in dense clusters at the base of new branchlets (candles) with the newly expanding bud just above. The female strobili form at the tips of the new candle and are small and egg shaped, ¼ to 3/8 inch long, reddish to bluish purple in color.
Leaves and bark:
Leaves are needle-like, 5 to 8 inches long, in bundles of two or three that spiral up around the branch, stiff but wiry (difficult to snap), dark green in color, mostly straight to slightly twisted, the facing surfaces flattened or angled.
Ponderosa Pine is the most widely distributed pine species in the lower 48 states, however Minnesota sits well east of its natural western geographic range. Mostly for cold hardiness reasons, it has only sparingly been utilized in our urban landscapes and has never been documented naturalized in the state. But it has been recognized that hardier genomes exist and successful plantings occasionally dot our urban landscape, and is the reason we add this species to our Minnesota field guide. While attaining heights of nearly 200 feet in its native range, in Minnesota it is rarely observed taller than 50 to 60'. It is distinguished from other Pinus species in the state by having much longer needles than other species, needles that are often bundled in threes, and the sharp spine on the cone scales.
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- Ponderosa Pine tree
- branches with cones
- unopened cones
- devastating effects of fungal blight
- comparison of Minnesota pine needles
- comparison of Minnesota pine cones
Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Ramsey County.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?