Landowner Fact Sheets

ponderosa pine Pinus ponderosa

Ponderosa pine, with a range from southern Canada to Mexico, is one of the most widely distributed pines in North America. It is an important timber tree, as well as a common component of forests serving wildlife and recreational purposes. Ponderosa pine needles are 5 to 10 inches long, and typically occur in bundles of 3.

range map Click to see more images. wood grain

Ponderosa pine is shade intolerant and commonly regenerated by clearcutting. Large group selections are feasible when western larch is a predominant associate.

Ponderosa pine can tolerate a wide range of soil moisture.


A large tree with an irregular crown, eventually developing a flat top or short conical crown. Ponderosa pine self-prunes well and develops a clear bole.

Timber Value
Ponderosa pine is used for light framing materials, doors, windows, furniture, paneling, shelving, etc.

Wildlife Value
Abert's and Kaibab squirrels commonly depend on ponderosa pine forests. Numerous birds and small mammals eat the seeds and stem tissue.
Attracts squirrels, voles, chipmunks, gophers, mule deer, elk, various birds.

Insects and Diseases

Fun Facts
Ponderosa pine is an extremely important timber species in western North America (second only to Douglas-fir) and an icon in western coniferous forests. Ponderosa pine is the state tree of Montana.

Latin Meaning
Pinus: Latin name for pine from Greek "pitus" / ponderosa: ponderous or heavy (wood) - Latin "pondus" (weight or size)

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Landowner Factsheets © 2004 Virginia Tech Forestry Department, all rights reserved. Text, images, and programming by: Dr. Jeff Kirwan, Dr. John R. Seiler, John A. Peterson, Edward C. Jensen, Guy Phillips, or Andrew S. Meeks.