Sunday, February 27, 2011

Pinus Strobus – White Pine Pictures



The history of pine trees just leaves me awe struck. This tree is a member of the Pinaceae, or Pine Family.  Pinaceae fossil record are found from the Cretaceous period, 144 millions to 65 millions years ago. This time is known as the last portion of the age of dinosaurs. The first fossils of many modern mammals, birds,  insects and the first flowering plants, are also found from that time.

I love the way herbalist Robyn Klein describes the two part Latin names of plants. She suggests, they are like our first and last name, so Pinus strobus,  Pinus, (the genus name), being like our last names, and strobus, (the species name), like our first. The genus Pinus has about 250  species, of mostly evergreen trees, so our pine has a relationship to 250 different trees. In other words, there are 250 other trees, ( occasionally shrubs), with the last name Pinus, but different first names:)  I like to address our pine as Miss Pinus strobus, as she is a bit of a wallflower, as you can see in the next picture.


White pines bark tends to be thin, scaly and dark. Our pine, is an tree about 20 years old, and its bark is dark gray, (tinged rather purplish), and furrowed.

The needles persist for between two and thirty years, or more, then they turn brown and fall to the ground in late summer. My husband raked last fall, and still we have a carpet of brown needles. Pines have long needle bundles in clusters or bundles. Pinus strobus has needles in bundles of five, joined at the base with a thin membrane, they are 4 inches long, and slender. These needles form a cluster which is triangular, and angles toward the tips of the branches.


All pines have whorled branches. Looking up, you can see the single layer of branches around the trunk, all on the same level from each year.


It is beautiful to see this same whorl type pattern, in the way the twigs and then the needles, come off the branches



I am quite drawn to this spiraling, whorling pattern, not unlike the pattern of the circle of life.

Kingdom                     Plantae                     Plants

Subkingdom               Tracheobionta        vascular plants

Superdivision             Spermatophyta       seed plants

Division                       Coniferophyta         conifers

Class                            Pinopsida                

Order                           Pinales

Family                          Pinaceae                  Pine family

Genus                           Pinus L.                   pine

Species                         Pinus strobus L.     Eastern white



The Sibley Guide to Trees by David Allen Sibley

Botany in a Day  by Thomas Elpel

USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service website



Anonymous said...

Thanks for the information about the needles - didn't know they can stay up to 30 years!

Comfrey Cottages said...

You are welcome. I was just trying to figure out where to link this post to on your blog:)

Lemon Verbena Lady said...

Jumping light years beyond me! Great job, CC!;>}

Mo said...

Great post about the pine, and an interesting Blog. I shall be back to read more :)Mo

Rowan said...

Interesting post, it's rather like a large family, Miss Pinus strobus has 250 cousins:) Will e-mail you later, had family here over the weekend so it's bveen hectic.

Comfrey Cottages said...

Nancy, I really don't know how you can say I am light years beyond you! You goof! We just sometimes approach plants from different angles. Each are valid and important. xx
Thanks for stopping in Mo. I popped over and loved your blog so following it now:)
Rowan, you are so very right, it is like having 250 cousins!! :) Oh whenever you get to it fine dear:) Life gets in the way of my puter time frequently! xx

Mo said...

Thanks for the visit. I had bookmarked your Blog to follow it and have caught up now. But I haven't caught up with reading. There's lots to keep me occupied here :)Mo

Comfrey Cottages said...

thanks for visiting Mo xx I am following you now too:)