eastern white pine (Pinus strobus)
Pinaceae, the pine family

How to recognize eastern white pine. When most people think of conifers, they think of pine (genus Pinus in the family Pinaceae), although a spruce or fir is very likely to be called a “pine tree” by somebody not yet familiar with the fine points of plant identification. Pines are needle-leaved evergreens, the leaves of which, except those of a Great Basin species aptly named Pinus monophylla, are bundled together in sheathed fascicles of 2-5. There are only four native pines in Ohio: shortleaf (P. echinata), pitch (P. rigida), white (P. strobus), and Virginia pine/scrub pine (Pinus virginiana).

So called “soft pines” are species with needles in bundles of 5. In the eastern U.S., the only soft pine is eastern white pine, Pinus strobus, a sometimes massive tree that occurs in moister, less exposed sites than do other pines. In Ohio, white pine occurs as a native species sporadically in the northeastern part of the state, but it is extensively planted everywhere.

Pinus strobus

Eastern white pine is our only soft pine. The needles are long, thin and bundled in fives.

Below, see in greater detail how the needles are arranged in bundles of 5 each.

Scanned Image from an Old Book
(Flora of West Virginia, by P.D. Strausbaugh and Earl L. Core)

white pine

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