Floridata Plant Encyclopedia

A Floridata Plant Profile 222 Pinus strobus

Common Names: eastern white pine, northern white pine, northern pine, soft pine Family: Pinaceae (pine Family)

white pine
Groves of eastern white pines make spectacular additions to large scale landscapes and provide food and shelter for birds and wildlife.


The eastern white pine is a large, beautiful conifer commonly growing to 150 ft (45.7 m) or more in height and 2-4 ft (0.3-1.2 m) in diameter. It has slender light green to bluish-green needles up to 5 in (12.7 cm) long, occurring in bundles (called fascicles) of five. The needles are prominently marked by a white line along their entire length. At maturity, the white pine often has a clear, cylindrical trunk for two thirds of its height, topped by a gracefully irregular, horizontally spreading crown. Its bark starts as smooth and dark green on younger trees and matures to fissured rectangular blocks on older trees. There are separate male and female reproductive structures called strobili that appear in spring (pines are gymnosperms and do not have true flowers). Once fertilized female seed-bearing cones form that are 4-10 in (10.2-25.4 cm) long.

white pine 'Fastigiata'
This is the variety 'Fastigiata' which has a narrower profile and stiffer form than the species.


White pine (Pinus strobus) is most abundant, and attains its best growth on moist sandy sites in eastern North America from Newfoundland and Ontario in Canada, throughout the Great Lakes region, the Northeast United States and south down the Appalachian Mountain range to northern Georgia in the United States.


White pine does not like very loose or very compacted soils and is not salt tolerant. Light: Full sun to partial shade. Moisture: Moist, well drained. Hardiness: USDA Zones 4 - 7. Propagation: By seed with cold stratification.


This magnificent evergreen tree makes a fine addition to the landscape especially in the northeastern United States. Beautiful and fast growing, the white pine is widely planted as both an ornamental and in reforestation projects.

white pine 'Sea Urchin'
This is a dwarf variety called 'Sea Urchin' - this individual is part of the Atlanta Botanical Garden's conifer collection.

White pine was, and still is, an important timber tree in the forest products trade. It's wood is used for pulp and lumber and its sticky resin provided the base for the naval stores industry. The tall, straight trunks were once prized for ships masts in the colonial period. Native Americans applied strips of white pine bark to wounds for faster healing. Preparations made from the bark are still used in "natural" cough and cold medicines.

In the opinion of noted horticultural expert Dr. Michael Dirr, the Pinus strobus is the best pine for landscape use in its range!


Seeds of the white pine were introduced to England from Maine in the 1600?s where it is still a popular landscape item. Bare root seedlings are often passed out at schools and other organizations on Arbor Day. This fast growing beauty can reach 40 ft (12.2 m) in 20 years.

White pine is the provincial tree of Ontario and the state tree of Maine and Michigan.

Jack Scheper 12/09/97; updated 01/03/01, 12/18/03, 7/29/04

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Pinus species profiled on Floridata:

Pinus clausa

( sand pine, scrub pine )

Pinus echinata

( shortleaf pine, yellow pine, shortstraw pine )

Pinus elliottii

( slash pine )

Pinus flexilis

( limber pine,Rocky Mountain white pine )

Pinus mugo

( mugo pine, mountain pine, Swiss mountain pine, mugho pine, dwarf mountain pine )

Pinus nigra

( Austrian pine, European black pine )

Pinus palustris

( longleaf pine, southern yellow pine, heart pine, southern pine )

Pinus strobus

( eastern white pine, northern white pine, northern pine, soft pine )

Pinus sylvestris

( Scots pine, Scotch pine )

Pinus taeda

( loblolly pine )

Pinus thunbergii

( black pine, Japanese black pine )

Pinus virginiana

( Virginia pine,Jersey pine,poverty pine,scrub pine )

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