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Pinus monticola

Pinus monticola

Pinus monticola, or western white pine, is native to western North America. It can be found at many elevations, from sea-level to 3350m (11000 ft.), but local conditions dictate the elevation range of the species. This particular tree was growing at around 600m (2000 ft.) along Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park. The trees growing at high elevation can only be found at the southern end of its distribution range, in the Sierra Nevada.

Whenever a North American species conifer is featured on BPotD, I'm obliged to link to two excellent resources: Pinus monticola from The Gymnosperm Database and Pinus monticola from the Silvics of North America.

I find it grimly amusing to note that toothpicks are mentioned as one of the economic uses of western white pine in the Silvics of North America factsheet. It brings to mind a quote I've failed to recall precisely, but was along the lines of: “Surely the supreme value [of trees] is not toothpicks”.

White pine blister rust (photo gallery), a foreign fungal pathogen introduced into North America from Europe (though originating in Asia), is significantly reducing the number of trees. Resistant strains are starting to appear, however, and are being used in breeding programs to eventually restore and reforest affected areas.

9 Comments

Gorgeous photograph. The lighting is sublime.

Stunning photo, Daniel.

Looks good enough to eat. Fine shot.

Might've been somebody commenting on the felling of ancient Sierra redwoods to make small wooden objects like toothpicks (these trees tend to shatter when hitting the ground).

Is there any significance to pine cones that point up versus those that point down?

As I remeber the story, the Blister rust was imported on a bunch of White Pine seedlings from Europe.

"Is there any significance to pine cones that point up versus those that point down?" – they point up in their first year, then as they grow larger in their second year they hang down.

"... a foreign fungal pathogen introduced into North America from Europe (though originating in Asia)" – equally, the European white pines (P. cembra, P. peuce) are very resistant to WPBR, so the fungus may well be native in Europe too, rather than just Asia.

Eric, I can't think of a pine with cones that point up--at least once they're open. And I can't think of an adaptive advantage for a cone that spreads its scales to expose its seeds to the weather, but then, that makes me wonder why Larix species would do exactly that.

Daniel:

The white pine is the reason Diamond Match was such a big part of northern Idaho society.

Best Wishes

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