The White Pine (Pinus strobus) grows mostly in the north-eastern part of the United States. Mature trees usually have no branches at the bottom and can become 200–250 years old. The Eastern white pine is the only 5-needled pine native to eastern North America. Needles are 4” long. Twigs are green and hairy but become hairless and orange-brown during the second growing season. Bark on young trucks is pale gray-green, thin, and smooth. Bark on mature trunks is dark gray, often tinged with purple, that is broken into broad scaly ridges, separated by furrows (vertical grooves separated by ridges). Eastern white pines are coniferous (or conifers, produce cones). Mature cones are 5.5”, relatively slender, with relatively long stalk, and thin scales often dotted with sap. The tree is one of the most important lumber trees in the East. When the English colonized north America, they marked the tall white pine trees as exclusive property of the King of England to be used for mast and spar building on ships. Anyone who cut down a king’s tree was subject to the death penalty. The park counts over 20 white pine trees. Some cluster on the edge of the park close to the Guernsey Hall. Others can be found near the picnic tables.
Scientific Name (order and family): Pinus strobus Linnaeus. (Pinales, Pinaceae)
Origin: Eastern North America
Habit: Narrowly conical; one hundred feet tall.
Trunk/Stem: Bark dark gray, smooth becoming fissured in rectangular blocks.
Leaves: Evergreen, needle-like leaves in clusters of five. Outer surface gray-green and the inner surface gray-white. The needles are four to five inches long, slender and soft. The needles form triangular clusters angled toward branch tips.
Flowers: Monoecious (separate male and female flowers on each plant) with male flower yellow and the female pink in separate clusters on young shoots.
Fruits and Seeds: A cone, cylindrical curved hanging, six inches or more long; first green ripening to brown. Often marked with white resin. Scales thicker than spruce cone scales. Once the cones open the scale curl back.