Rugged-looking. Lean. Enduring. If a tree could personify the West, it would surely have to be the ponderosa pine. Writer Arthur Plotnik called it “a Clint Eastwood of a tree.” Montana has selected it as the state tree. It even lent its name to the ranch in the long-running western TV series “Bonanza.”
- Develops a deep taproot, making it wind-resistant
- Displays dark gray-green to olive needles and cinnamon-colored bark that becomes fire-resistant once mature
- Will be delivered at a height of 6″–1′
- The Ponderosa Pine grows in zones 3-7
- Mature Height: N/A–N/A
- Mature Spread: 25’–30′
- Growth Rate: Medium
- Shape: Irregular
- Sun Preference: Full Sun
- Soil Preference: Alkaline, Drought-tolerant, Loamy, Moist, Well-drained
- Wildlife Value: The seeds provide food for birds and small mammals, particularly turkeys, nuthatches, crossbills, grosbeaks, pine siskins, grouse, squirrels, chipmunks and mice. The leaves, twigs and bark are browsed by porcupines, mule deer and elk. Snags (standing dead trees) provide a large number of wildlife species with nesting and roosting sites.
The Scottish botanist David Douglas named this pine for its ponderous or heavy wood. Other common names are yellow pine, western longleaf pine, bull pine, western red pine, western pitch pine, Sierra brownbark pine, ponderosa white pine and black jack pine.
Native Americans used this tree extensively. The inner bark was ground into emergency flour, and the young cones were boiled for emergency food. In the spring, the bark was scraped and eaten raw as a sweet treat. Inner bark gum was used for medicine. The needles were steeped to make a tea.
The ponderosa pine also provided canoes for Lewis and Clark after they crossed the Rocky Mountains into the headwaters of the Columbia River.