Pinus ponderosa P. & C. Lawson

  • Family: Pinaceae (pines)
  • Common name: ponderosa pine

    Evergreen coniferous tree to 50 m (180 ft) tall and 120 cm (4 ft) diameter with long straight trunk and conical open crown. Bark blackish on small trees to yellowish-brown on large old trees, with large flat scaly plates. Twigs thick, rough, dark gray. Buds terminal, cylindrical, with numerous long-pointed scales and yellowish-white hairs. Leaves needle-like, usually three but sometimes two in a bundle, 10-18 cm (4-7 in) long, persistent 4-6 years, basal sheath persistent. Cones egg-shaped, 6-15 cm (2.5-6 in) long with thin scales and short prickles, brown, opening at maturity.

    Distribution: Eastern foothills of the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Coast and southwestern Canada to northern Mexico.
    Habitat: Foothill and lower montane zones.
    NWI status: FACU
    Comment: An important timber tree, marketed as "western yellow pine". Ponderosa pine in Oklahoma is limited to a small area in upper Tessequite Canyon in western Cimarron County. Pinus is the ancient Latin name for the pines; ponderosa means "heavy" and may refer to the wood.

    Distribution in Oklahoma:

    Last update: 9/15/99
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