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Alphabetical List of Tree Common Names Alphabetical List of Tree Scientific Names Identification Key Mystery Tree

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lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta)

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  • Needles: Two needles per bundle (clustered); 1-3" long; commonly twisted (contorted).

  • Fruit: Small, egg-shaped cones (1-2" long), often with a prickle at the end of each scale. May remain closed on the tree for years.

  • Bark: Thin, dark, and flaky.

  • Distribution: Abundant in the northern Rocky Mountains and Pacific Coast region. Grow from 0-11,500 ft. (0-3600 m). Those along the coast are commonly called shore pine.


ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa)

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  • Needles: Occur in bundles of 3 (rarely 2); 5-10" long; tufted near the ends of branches (needles are held only 2-3 years).

  • Fruit: Egg-shaped cone; 3-5" long (much smaller than Jeffrey pine cones); each scale has a straight, stiff prickle that sticks out.

  • Bark: Flakes off in shapes like jigsaw puzzle pieces. Older trees have a distinct yellow or orange color (not red like Jeffrey pine).

  • Distribution: Occurs in the Pacific Coast mountain ranges, throughout the Rocky Mountains, and into northern Mexico. Grows from sea level to 9000 ft. (2800 m).

 


Jeffrey pine (Pinus jeffreyi)

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  • Needles: Occur in bundles of 3 (rarely 2); 5-10" long; often "bushy" along twig (often held 5-8 years on the tree).

  • Fruit: Large, woody cones; 5-12" long (much larger than ponderosa pine cones); each scale has a curved (J-shaped) prickle that curves inward.

  • Bark: Flakes off in jigsaw puzzle-like pieces. Older bark is distinctly reddish-brown (not as orange as ponderosa pine).

  • Distribution: Occurs in mountainous regions of the West, from southern Oregon through the Sierra Nevada, and into Baja, California. Generally grows from 4800 to 9600 ft. (1500-3000 m).

 


knobcone pine (Pinus attenuata)

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  • Needles: Occur in bundles of 3; 3-7" long; slender and twisted.

  • Fruit: Woody cones with swollen, knob-like bumps on one side; 3-6" long; grow in dense clusters. Cones may remain closed on the tree for many years.

  • Bark: Dark and scaly.

  • Distribution: Found on dry, rocky slopes and ridges of the coastal mountain ranges; southern Oregon to Baja, California. Usually grow at 2600-4500 ft. (800-1350 m). Grows in fire-prone environments.

 


western white pine (Pinus monticola)

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  • Needles: Occur in bundles of 5; 2-4" long; white lines on 2 sides of each 3-sided needle.

  • Fruit: Woody cones, 5-12" long (smaller than sugar pine cones); slender and curved. Cone scales are thin and often curve up on the end.

  • Bark: Dark; broken into small squares or rectangles on older trees (smooth on young trees). Bark often "ringed" where a whorl of branches once grew.

  • Distribution: Occurs in southern British Columbia, the northwestern states, and the Sierra Nevada of California. In the northern portion of their range, the trees grow from sea level to 2500 ft. (750 m).

 


sugar pine (Pinus lambertiana)

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  • Needles: Occur in bundles of 5; 2-4" long; white lines on all 3 surfaces of each 3-sided needle.

  • Fruit: Huge, woody cones, 10-20" long (larger than western white pine cones) and straight. Cone scales are thick and straight.

  • Bark: Reddish-brown and furrowed; broken into long plates on older trees (narrow plates on young trees). No small blocky patches, and no rings where whorls of branches once grew (each distinguishes sugar from western white pine).

  • Distribution: Ranges from the mountains of southern Oregon to southern California, the Sierra Nevada, and into northern Baja, California. Occur from 2300 to 9200 ft. (750-3000 m).

 


limber pine (Pinus flexilis)

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  • Size: Usually under 50' tall and 2' in diameter. Often shrubby.

  • Needles: Occur in bundles of 5; 2-3" long; white lines on all surfaces.

  • Fruit: Woody cones, 3-7" long; thick cone scales with no prickles.

  • Bark: Grayish-brown with furrows and ridges.

  • Distribution: Distributed widely in the Rocky Mountains from Canada to northern New Mexico; found in northeast corner of Oregon. Usually found on dry, rocky ridges and peaks at 7700 to 11,500 ft. (2350-3600 m) elevation.

 


whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis)

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  • Size: Usually under 50' tall and 2' in diameter. Often distorted or shrub-like.

  • Needles: Occur in bundles of 5; 1-3" long; faint, white lines on all surfaces.

  • Fruit: Small, woody cones, 2-3" long; nearly round; thick cone scales with no prickles. Remain closed on tree even when mature; Seeds are unwinged and a rich source of food for animals.

  • Bark: Thin, scaly, and grayish throughout its life.

  • Distribution: Found in the high mountains of western Canada and the U.S. Grows at or near timberline from 7700 to 12,000 ft. (2350-3750 m) elevation.

 


For more information about these species, see "Trees to Know in Oregon".


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