What is an Eastern White Pine?

Sheri Cyprus

An eastern white pine is a large pine tree that is native to the eastern part of North America. It may be called a white pine or a northern white pine as well as many other names, such as cork pine, pumpkin pine and yellow pine, or scientifically Pinus strobus. The average height of this tree is 50 - 80 feet (15 - 24 m) and it may live an average of 200 years or as many as 450 years. Eastern white pines may have their lower trunks free of branches while the higher branches extend upward. In the United States, the eastern white pine grows from North Georgia to Minnesota, and in Canada, the tree is found from Southeastern Manitoba to Newfoundland.

Eastern white pines have needles, seeds and bark that are eaten by many animals, including moose.
Eastern white pines have needles, seeds and bark that are eaten by many animals, including moose.

Maine is nicknamed The Pine Tree State and in 1945, it made the eastern white pine its official tree. The tree also became the state tree of Michigan in 1955. The Canadian province of Ontario named the eastern white pine its official tree in 1984. Eastern white pines are known for growing tall and straight and they were once used by Britain's Royal Navy to make masts for sailing ships.

In Canada, the eastern white pine is found from southeastern Manitoba to Newfoundland.
In Canada, the eastern white pine is found from southeastern Manitoba to Newfoundland.

Today, eastern white pines are a prime source of softwood lumber for construction. The wood has an even graining and attractive light color. Eastern white pine is also known for holding paint well and for not shrinking much. It’s a popular wood for making window frames, paneling, cabinets, moldings, doors, and even matches.

Eastern white pines are conifers, meaning they bear cones. The word conifer is Latin for "cone-bearing." The eastern white pine, like some pine trees, has both male and female reproductive fruit, or cones. The cones are long, narrow and red-brown in color. The trees bloom in May and the flower clusters may be yellow, pink, purple or light green tinged with red.

Eastern white pines have blue-green needles that grow in clusters of five. The trees provide shelter as well as food for many forest animals. The needles, seeds or bark are not only eaten by birds, but by mammals such as porcupines, rabbits, squirrels, deer, and moose.

Sandy, moist ground is best for eastern white pines, but they will grow in dry soils. They need at least partial sun and may grow well on sloping land. The white pine weevil, or Pissodes strobl, is the tree's most damaging pest. Other pests drawn to the eastern white pine are bark beetles and sawfly caterpillars. Eastern white pines are thought to be highly sensitive to air pollution and are said to grow poorly in polluted areas.

Eastern white pines produce cones.
Eastern white pines produce cones.

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Discussion Comments


I love any kind of weeping tree and have two weeping willow trees, one weeping pussy willow and one weeping cherry tree on my property. I had always been interested in planting a weeping evergreen and decided on a weeping Eastern White Pine.

Because of the needles, they have a different look to them than the weeping trees I am used to, but I love it! It doesn't grow very fast, but I enjoy having a weeping tree that stays green all year long.


Growing up we had a huge pine tree that provided shade and attracted a lot of birds. I have always loved evergreen trees and think the green in the winter is a beautiful backdrop to the white snow on the ground.

I have several kinds of evergreens in my yard, and planted a dwarf white pine a few years ago. I was looking for something that would not get quite as tall as other pine trees. They have soft needles and shed the oldest needles every fall. These will not get nearly as tall as something like an Eastern White Pine, but are perfect for my yard.


While on a fishing trip to Canada, I was amazed at all the different kinds of trees in the forests. These pine trees were abundant and the Eastern White Pine lumber is used in many types of construction projects.

Many people like the look of pine in their home, whether it be for flooring or cabinets - it is a light bark that has quite an appeal.

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