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Woody > Pinus > Pinus monticola > Pinus monticola

Pinus monticola

Western White Pine

Origin:  This trees grows from British Columbia down to California and is a native of Western North America. David Douglas named it in 1831 during his exploration of the West coast of North America.
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Western White Pines are a very tall, long-lived, narrow coniferous evergreen trees. This native of Western North America can live up to four hundred years. It has platy dark grey bark and 5 needles per fascicle. It is not normally used in the landscape industry but can sometimes be found as windbreaks or for screening. This hardy species is tolerant of a variety of conditions.

Michael Pascoe, NDP., ODH., CLT., MSc. (Plant Conservation)


Tree (evergreen)
USDA Hardiness Zone
4 - 8
Canadian Hardiness Zone
4 - 8
RHS Hardiness Zone
Temperature (°C)
Temperature (°F)
5 - 70 m
1 - 2.5 m
Description and Growing Information
Flowering Period
General Description
Western White Pines tolerate a variety of soil condition from peat bogs, dry sandy soil to rocky conditions.
It can be used as a windbreak or screening. It is also sometimes planted in parks or in restoration projects. However, the timber is very valuable and is used to make windows, doors, and furniture.
Grows best in well-drained sandy or gravely loam. Prefers a pH range of 4.5-6.8 and a location with full sun.
The Western White Pine is a tall, straight and pyramidal shaped tree. As it matures to its full height the lower branches fall off and can leave up to 25 m clearance under the tree.
ID Characteristic
The needles are straight, flexible, triangular and bluish-green in colour. The needles also have lines of white spots, which have 5 needles per fascicle. The bark is dark grey and is broken into rectangular scaly plates.
White Pine Blister Rust is a common fungus that effects Western White Pines. The first signs are chlorotic spots on the needles. The tree eventually produces orange cankers. The fungus girdles the branch causing it to die over a few years. If not treated in time the fungus will move throughout the tree and kill it.
Western White Pine can tolerate a variety of soil conditions from peat bogs, dry sandy soil to rocky conditions. However in nature they seem to prefer growing in moist rich valleys or on gentle slopes. They are found in the mountains of Western Canada and the United States
Bark/Stem Description
When the tree is young the bark is thin, smooth and a greyish-green. As the tree matures the bark becomes dark grey and broken into rectangular scaly plates 2-4 cm thick.
Flower/Leaf Bud Description
Buds are slender, bluntly pointed with overlapping brownish scales. Can be up to 10 mm long.
Leaf Description
Needles are 5-10 cm long and arranged 5 needles per fascicle. They are soft, slender, straight, flexible and triangular. The needles are bluish-green with lines of white dots. Bundle sheaths are deciduous in the 1st season.
Flower Description
Flowers are monoecious. Male flowers are greenish-yellow, small and are located on the tips of the branches. Female flowers are greenish-pink, round and larger then there male counterparts. They are located on the tip of the branches of the upper crown.
Fruit Description
The Western White Pine produces cones are 10-30 cm long and slightly curved with a 2 cm long stalk. They are green in colour but turn brown as they mature which takes 2 years. Once cones are mature they drop to the ground in October. However, trees do not produce viable seeds until they reach maturity, which can take up to 70 years.
Colour Description
The needles are bluish-green with lines of white dots. On the tips of the higher branches there are flowers. The male flowers are yellow and the female flowers are pink. Once the cones start to develop they are green but eventually turn brown as they mature. The bark is greyish-green and smooth when the tree is young but later becomes dark grey and platy.
Texture Description
Medium textured plant that maintains its texture all year round.
Western White Pines are normally propagated through seeds. The seeds must go through cold stratification in the freezer for about 60-90 days. Then soaked in lukewarm water for 1-2 days. Once forty-eight hours have passed place the seeds in a zip-lock bag and put in the fridge for another 60-90 days. After completing these steps plant the seed in a pot that is 1 part pine bark, 1 part peat moss and one part garden soil or potting mix. Place the pot in full sun.
Ethnobotanical Uses (Disclaimer)
When the resin is turned into a paste or lotion it can be used externally to relieve warts, sores, burns and boils. The sap can be chewed like gum. The bark can be dried, ground down and added to soup as a thickener or added to bread. Lastly, the young cones can be roasted and eaten.