Page authors: Don Knoke, David Giblin
Pinus ponderosa
ponderosa pine, western yellow pine

Distribution: Occurring mostly east of the Cascades crest in Washington; British Columbia to Baja California, east to the Great Plains.

Habitat: Mostly dry areas in open forests at low to middle elevations.

Cones: May-June

Origin: Native

Growth Duration: Perennial

Conservation Status: Not of concern

Pollination: Wind


Large forest tree up to 70 m. tall.


Bark thick, that of younger trees deeply furrowed and dark reddish-brown or blackish, gradually changing to cinnamon-red in older trees, divided into large plates that freely flake off.


Needles usually in clusters of 3 toward the branch ends, 12-20 cm. long, yellowish-green, on spur branches that are ultimately deciduous with the needles.


Staminate cones yellow to purplish, strongly clustered, crowded at the base of shoots of the current season; ovulate cones near the branch tips, reddish-purple when young, sub-sessile, nearly horizontal, becoming reddish-brown, then brown when mature, broadly ovate, 8-14 cm. long, the scales chocolate-brown, with a thickened, yellowish-brown, strongly prickly tip.

Accepted Name:
Pinus ponderosa Douglas ex P. Lawson & C. Lawson
Publication: Agric. Man. 354. 1836.

Synonyms & Misapplications:
(none provided)
Additional Resources:

PNW Herbaria: Specimen records of Pinus ponderosa in the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria database.

WA Flora Checklist: Pinus ponderosa checklist entry.

OregonFlora: Pinus ponderosa information.

E-Flora BC: Pinus ponderosa atlas page.

CalPhotos: Pinus ponderosa photos.

USDA Plants: Pinus ponderosa information.

81 photographs:
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