eastern white pine

(Pinus strobus)

Conservation Status
eastern white pine
  IUCN Red List

LC - Least Concern


N5 - Secure

SNR - Unranked


not listed

Wetland Indicator Status
  Great Plains

FACU - Facultative upland


FACU - Facultative upland

  Northcentral & Northeast

FACU - Facultative upland


Eastern white pine is an evergreen, coniferous tree rising on a single trunk from 3 to 5 moderately deep lateral roots. It is the only soft pine native to Minnesota. It is usually found as individual trees or small stands in deciduous forests. In Minnesota mature trees are usually 40 to 70 tall and up to 42 in diameter, though giant individuals can reach over 100 in height. It is the tallest conifer in northeastern North America.

Young trees are pyramidal in shape with a cone-shaped crown. Older trees have an irregular, rounded or flattened crown. The trunk is straight.

The bark on young trees is thin, smooth, and grayish green. On mature trees the bark is gray-brown tinged with purple and 1 to 2 thick. It is deeply furrowed into long, broad, connected, irregularly rectangular plates separated by deep, darker furrows.

The branches are stout, horizontal, and whorled, each whorl representing one year of growth. The tree’s age can be determined by counting the number of whorls from the bottom up.

The twigs are green and hairless or hairy in the first year. They become orange-brown and hairless in the second year.

The buds are slender, egg-shaped, to long, and sharp-pointed. They are covered with overlapping reddish-brown scales.

The needle-like leaves are bluish-green with 3 or more lines of white dots. They are 2 to 5 long, slender, straight, soft, and flexible. In cross section they are triangular in shape and have one fibrovascular bundle. The white dots are pores surrounded by 2 glaucous cells, and are evident only on the upper surface. Needle edges are finely toothed. They are borne in bundles of 5 with a sheath at the base. The sheath is to long and falls off after the first year. The needles are evergreen, and can remain on the tree for up to 4 years, but usually turn yellow and fall after 2 years.

Male and female cones are borne on the same tree. Pollen (male) cones are cylindrical, to long, and yellow or light brown. They are borne in clusters on older branches in the lower part of the crown at the base of the new shoots. They shed pollen in the late spring then wither and fall away. Female cones at the time of pollination are green, 3 16 to 1½ long conelets. They are borne in clusters on newer branches in the upper part of the crown near the tip of the new shoots. They mature after 2 years.

Mature seed cones are yellow-green to light brown, 3 to 8 long, cylindrical, slightly curved, and flexible. They hang downward on a slender, ¾ to 1 long stalk. They are covered with usually 5 spiraling rows of 10 to 16 scales each. The scales at the tip and the base are small and are not fertile.

Mature seed cone scales are thin and rounded at the tip. The tip of the scale, that portion that is exposed when the cone is closed (apophysis), has purple or gray tints, is not shiny, and is not much thicker than the adjacent part. There is no sealing band adjacent to the apophysis where the scales meet when closed. There is a prominent protuberance (umbo) terminating the scale tip. There is no prickle on the umbo. The scale tip is free, not pressed closely against the next scale. At maturity the scales bend backward, releasing the seeds. Soon after that the cones fall to the ground.

There are 2 seeds in each fertile scale. The seeds are reddish-brown, mottled with black, 3 16 to ¼ long, with a ¾ to 1 long, pale brown wing. The wing is fused to the seed (adnate).




40 to 70




There are two co-champion eastern white pines in Minnesota.

One is in Forestville State Park near the entrance in Fillmore County. In 2009 it was measured at 103 tall and 214 in circumference (68 in diameter), with a crown spread of 84.

One is on private property near Glen, in Aitkin County. In 2021 it was measured at 121 tall and 198 in circumference (63 in diameter), with a crown spread of 68.


Similar Species

  This is the only pine in Minnesota with long needles in clusters of 5.  

Deciduous forests, stream banks, river banks. Sandy or gravelly areas with moist soil. Full sun.






Pests and Diseases






Distribution Map



2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 24, 28, 29, 30.









  Kingdom Plantae (green algae and land plants)  
  Subkingdom Viridiplantae (green plants)  
  Infrakingdom Streptophyta (land plants and green algae)  
  Superdivision Embryophyta (land plants)  
  Division Tracheophyta (vascular plants)  
  Subdivision Spermatophytina (seed plants)  
  Class Pinopsida (conifers)  
  Subclass Pinidae  


Pinales (conifers)  


Pinaceae (pine)  
  Subfamily Pinoideae (pines, spruces, larches, and allies)  


Pinus (pines)  
  Subgenus Strobus (soft pines)  
  Section Quinquefoliae (white pines)  
  Subsection Strobus  

Subordinate Taxa






Pinus chiapensis

Pinus strobus chiapensis

Pinus strobus var. chiapensis

Strobus strobus


Common Names


eastern white pine

eastern white pine

northern white pine

soft pine

Weymouth pine

white pine













In coniferous trees that portion of the cone scale that is exposed when the cone is closed. It is the second year’s growth of a two year old scale.



Pale green or bluish gray due to a whitish, powdery or waxy film, as on a plum or a grape.


Soft pines

Pines of the subgenus Strobus. They have scales without a sealing band, terminal umbos, adnate seed wings, and one fibrovascular bundle per leaf. The wood is softer and lighter than that of hard pines. Also called white pines.



A blunt or round protuberance on the end of the scale of some pine cones. It is the first year’s growth of a two year old scale.


Vascular bundle

(fibrovascular bundle) A strand of the transport system in plants that runs from the roots, through the stems, to the leaves. It consists of xylem on the inside and phloem on the outside.



A thin, flat, membranous, usually transparent appendage on the margin of a structure.

Visitor Photos

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Dan W. Andree


Another Big White Pine...

This one was bigger than the previous photo of one with the moss growing up on it. The base of this pine isn’t shown in the photo. It was along the Manitou River in George H Crosby Manitou State Park but quite a ways in.

I couldn’t get a total shot of it due to the land, other trees and brush and the river which was behind me. The photo is taken from maybe 8-10 ft. up from the bottom of the trunk where it meets the ground. Biggest white pine I came across that I seen to be able to get close to anyways.

Not sure of the year taken as I had ventured to that park several times over several seasons. Nice big giant it was.

  eastern white pine  

Moss on Old White Pine Tree...

I came across this towering old white pine with moss on the tree trunk while exploring along the Manitou River Trail in George H. Crosby Manitou State Park. Awesome tree it was.

  eastern white pine  
MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos

Male Cones

    eastern white pine   eastern white pine  



  Pinus strobus
Blake C. Willson
  Pinus strobus  

Eastern White Pine

  Eastern White Pine
  Eastern White Pine  

Copyright DianesDigitals

  White Pine
Andree Reno Sanborn
  White Pine  

The British loved taking our huge white pine for the masts of their ships. That created a lot of ill will.

Pinus strobus

  Eastern White Pine (Pinus Strobus)
Jim Hamilton

Uploaded on Jun 19, 2008

Brief species overview of eastern white pine (Pinus strobus)




Visitor Videos

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Other Videos
  White Pine identification video( Pinus Strobus ) by cone, needles and bark

Published on Sep 2, 2012

White Pine identification ( Pinus Strobus ). A video to help identify the tree.

  Eastern White Pine.mov
Kimberly Wade

Kimberly Wade

Richard Weber, owner of Springhouse Gardens in Nicholasville, Kentucky, guided at Tree Walk at The Lexington Cemetery. He talks about the Easter White Pine. The Lexington Cemetery is home to over 200 species of trees.

  Trees with Don Leopold - eastern white pine

Uploaded on Oct 10, 2011

No information available.

  How To Identify Eastern White Pine Trees From A Distance Tree Identification

Uploaded on Feb 2, 2012

Please support this channel. Thanks!
More trees and plants: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLAB9DFB2A4ED09C68

Offering some advanced tips on identifying White pine trees from a distance. When utilizing natural resources identification from a distance is very important, It saves time and allows one to focus more on use rather than fine details which in some cases only serve to confuse the subject.

Once you understand the basic detailed features of identification, which are also described in this video, you will free yourself up to gaining an understanding of the features on a larger scale and allowing yourself to spot resources from a distance.

Spotting resources from a distance makes it easy to plot them out on a map or store in your memory for later use, this makes it much quicker to get to and use the resources if needed.

White pine is good for food, shelter, and fire, 3 of the 4 basic elements of survival, it is available in all four seasons and also has medicinal and utilitarian uses. White pine is a good habitat and food source for wildlife as well. All of these combined with it's ability to grow in a wide variety of habitats makes it a very important natural resource wherever it is found.

  Eastern White Pine
Master Woodsman

Published on Sep 12, 2013

No description available.




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