The white pine is a fast growing conifer (softwood) that reaches heights in excess of 150 feet. Each bunch of needles has 5 long needles. The cones are slender and 3-6 inches long. The bark is gray brown and smooth on young trees wile broken into large rectangular blocks on older growth.
Stands of pine are often planted as wind block. Since early colonization, the lumber has been harvested for timbers, furniture, flooring, and trim. During the 1700s, the best pines were reserved by the British Royal Navy for masts on ships.
White pines are found through northeast America and are some of the most abundant trees in New England. Due to extensive logging, only about 1% of old growth pine remains, but many mature forests (100-150 yrs old) of pine exist today. Pines are often the first tree to grow in abandoned fields and clearings. The white pine provides food and shelter for numerous forest birds and small mammals such as squirrels.
Pines grow very fast, often as much as 3ft per year, and you can count the rings of branches on a tree to tell its age. Pine needles are an excellent source of vitamin C.
Aside from logging, two natural threats to white pine are the white pine weevil and red blister rust. The pine weevil lays its eggs in the top of a young tree (only in bright sunlight) and then the young eat the host, causing the tree to fork low to the ground. These multiple-trunked trees are usually left by loggers and grow to be quite large. Red blister rust requires an intermediary host, usually the native current, and extensive attempts to eradicate these intermediary hosts have reduced the threat to white pines.
Where to find on campus
White pines of all sizes can be found throughout the TA campus.