The Himalayan white pine (Pinus wallichiana) is a moderately tall (130 ft) evergreen with uniquely long leaves (needles) in bundles of five. The long needles give the tree an overall droopy look. It produces both male and female flowers on the same tree; its cones are very long (9″), slender, curved and stalked. The wood is moderately hard, durable and highly resinous. It is a commercial source of turpentine. This tree is native to the Himalayas and probably was introduced in this country in the middle of 19th century. Richard S. Field, the creator of Marquand Park, had the Pinus excelsa in his collection in 1866. Needles similar to Eastern White Pine; needles in cluster of five but branches of P. wallichiana are more spreading, sparser and needles longer and drooping. P. wallichiana hybrids readily with other white pines like P. parviflora making identification difficult. The soft wood breaks easily, like P. strobus, causing serious deformities to the tree.
Common name: Himalayan White Pine, Butan Pine, Blue Pine
Scientific Name (family and order): Pinus wallichiana Jackson (Pinaceae, Pinales) [past names included Pinus griffithii, and Pinus excelsa]
Species Origin: The Himalayas.
New Jersey Status: USDA Unreported
Habit: 100 – 130’ high x50’ wide straight slender stem.
Habitat: Zones 5 -7; mountain forests.
Trunk/Stem: Bark gray and sooth, becoming gray and fissured.
Leaves: Evergreen, very slender needle-like; Five in cluster. Foliage overall blue-gray. Needles slender, kinked at first, flexible 6 -8” long in custers of five; needles are long and shaggy. The outer surface green, the inner surface blue-white. Needles persist for 3- 4 years.
Flowers: Monoecious. Male flowers in small clusters borne at the base of new shoots; female flowers blue-green to pink borne near tips of new shoots; both clusters on same plant but separate.
Fruits and seeds: Fruits a curved, resinous large hanging leathery cone, 12-20” long. Cones ripen from green to brown. The cones release seeds the second year.