Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa)
This species is also referred to as the "Western Yellow Pine". Ponderosa Pine is the most important pine in western North America, growing in commercial quantities in every state west of the Great Plains. It occurs from the Pacific Coast mountains and through the Rocky Mountains into northern Mexico. The Ponderosa Pine is one of our largest pines, reaching a height of 150 feet or more in its native habitat. It is hardy, drought resistant and has been planted for windbreaks and ornamental use as well as for commercial production. The wood is rather light and soft and is used for plywood, paneling, mill products, toys, furniture and many other products.
This pyramidal shaped tree has 5 to 8-inch yellow-green needles that are coarse and quite stiff. The needles can occur in bundles of two or threes on the same tree. The tan-brown cone is 3 to 6 inches long and armed with stout, slender barbs, usually hooked backward. The bottom portion of the cone scales often stay attached to the limb when the cone falls. On young trees the bark is dark brown to nearly black and is broken into ridges. On older tree s the bark becomes orange colored to cinnamon red.