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Pinus ponderosa

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About Bull Pine (Pinus ponderosa) Pinus ponderosa, commonly known as the Ponderosa Pine, Bull Pine, Blackjack Pine, or Western Yellow Pine, is a widespread and variable pine native to western North America. It was first described by David Douglas in 1826, from eastern Washington near present-day Spokane. It is a dominant tree in the Kuchler plant association Ponderosa shrub forest. Like most western pines, the ponderosa is associated with mountainous topography. It is found on the Black Hills and on foothills and mid-height peaks of the northern, central and southern Rocky Mountains as well as the Cascades and Sierra Nevada. Modern forestry research identifies four different taxa of Ponderosa Pine, with differing botanical characters and adapted to different climatic conditions. These have been termed "geographic races" in forestry literature, while some botanists historically treated them as distinct species. In modern botanical usage, they best match the rank of subspecies, but not all of the relevant botanical combinations have been formally published.
Plant Description
Plant Type

Max. Height
40 - 223 ft (12.2 - 68 m)

Max. Width
7 ft (2.1 m)

Rounded, Upright Columnar

Fragrant - Pleasant

Growth Rate
Fast, Moderate


Flower Color

Flowering Season

Native Status

Natural Setting
Site Type
In pure stands or in mixed-conifer forests in the mountains, mainly in inland and drier areas.

Part Shade

Elevation ?
34' - 10966'

Annual Precip. ?
4.5" - 133.8"

Summer Precip. ?
0.18" - 4.08"

Coldest Month ?
23.3° F - 55.1° F

Hottest Month ?
46.0° F - 83.0° F

Humidity ?
0.32 vpd - 36.12 vpd

Soil Description
Prefers sandy or loamy soils. Does not grow well in clay soils.

Soil Texture
Loamy Sand

Soil PH
5 - 7

Fast, Medium, Slow

Cold Tolerance(° F)
Tolerates cold to -10° F

Sunset Zones ?
1, 2*, 3*, 4*, 5*, 6*, 7*, 8, 9, 14*, 15*, 16*, 17, 18*, 19

Wildlife Attracted
Attracts beneficial butterflies, including the West Pine Elphin (Callophrys eryphon) and Pine White (Neophasia menapia) species; Many birds, including Red-winged blackbirds, chickadees, mourning doves, finches, evening grosbeak, jays, Clark's nutcracker, nuthatches, rufous-sided towhee, turkeys, and grouse.

Landscaping Information
Ease of Care
Very Easy

Water Requirement ?
Very Low
Extremely Low
Very Low
Moderate - High

Max. Summer Water ?
No Summer Water
Keep moist

Pest Control
Various insects are known to affect this tree, but the most common is the Western pine beetle (Dendroctonous), which commonly kills older trees. Also is host to the the grassy-winged sharpshooter (Homalodisca vitripennis).

Propagation ?
For propagating by seed: Fresh seeds need no treatment; stored seeds 1-2 mos. stratification ( USDA Forest Service 1974).

Common uses
Deer Resistant, Bird Gardens, Butterfly Gardens

Nursery Availability
Commonly Available

Other Names
Common Names
Ponderosa Pine

Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora

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