Types of Pine Trees

In the following list, to take the Loblolly as an example, L: 3, 6-10, means that the Loblolly's leaves are in clusters of three and are 6 to 10 inches in length; C: 3-5 that its cones are 3 to 5 inches long; 5 x 150 that, in the most favorable soil and conditions, it reaches a height of 150 feet, with a diameter of 5 feet.

Pitch-Pine: L: 3, 6-8; C: 1-3; 3 x 80. N. J. southward. Prefers swamps but can make itself at home almost anywhere. Might be called "The Phoenix of the Pines," for it even sends up shoots after a fire; the only member of the family that does. Will also stand a salt-sea bath -- a thing most trees heartily dislike. Chief value is for fuel, charcoal, ties, and holding down dunes along the sea and elsewhere so that they won't keep spreading over good land; and so that they will stay in the picture for snap-shooters and other artists. In dense woods grows erect, but alone, as when it "clings like a limpet to the rocks"; it is many-angled and picturesque -- just the kind of tree that artists love. Formerly a source of pitch and turpentine but now superseded by more productive species.


The Pinons: From a lumber standpoint nobody would look twice at any of the Pines known as "Pinons," but they are very popular with artists, squirrels, Boy Scouts, Campfire Girls, and other citizens of the wild. While they're nothing to speak of for size, they're very picturesque, clinging bravely to their dry mountain ridges, and they produce the delicious little nut seeds from which they get their name. If you ever do any tramping in the Great Southwest, or go through any of the towns on the train, you'll have plenty of opportunity to eat "pinons"; and, what is fully as interesting, to see them eaten by the Indians and Mexicans, boys and girls, and all. It's simply wonderful how they can keep a steady stream of empty shells coming out of one side of their mouths while constantly feeding handfuls of fresh grist into the other!

In our illustrations we show five varieties: The Mexican Nut-Pine, of Arizona; Parry's Nut, native to lower California; Rocky Mountain Nut of Arizona and western Texas; the White-Bark Pine, British Columbia to southern California and east to Montana and Wyoming. Like the rest of the nut trees among the Pines, the W.B.P. is small, but its cones find a ready market with the Indians and the crows. The crows make it a point to tear open the cones and eat the seeds before they are quite ripe - the black rascals! Is this because they want to get ahead of their red brothers, do you suppose?

Mexican Nut: L: 2, 3/4-1 1/2; C: 1-2 broad; 2 x 50. Parry, L: 4, 1 1/4-1 1/2; C: 1-2 broad; 18 inches x 40 feet. Rocky M., L: 2, 1-2; C: 1-2 broad; 1 x 20. W.B.P., L: 5, 1 1/2-2 1/2; C: 1 1/2-3; 2 x 20.


Bull-Pine: L: 2-3, 4-9; C: 3-6; 8 x 230. Now, by way of contrast for size, take the big Bull or Western Yellow Pine, with its short, thick, many-forked branches, often drooping, but generally turned up at the ends, "like a drake's tail," I was going to say, although it hardly seems in keeping with the majesty of a magnificent tree. But, anyhow, this splendid specimen of forest architecture is most impressive, with its lofty height and spire-like head. Its needles grow in tufts at the ends of naked branches. The scales of its cones you won't easily forget; they have savage little prickles on them, either standing out like spears or recurved like a bee's sting. It grows on mountain slopes and high mesas and in dry valleys in all our western mountain States.

Sugar-Pine: Another giant among the Pines. Not only is it a giant in size (12 x 220), but it bears, I believe, the biggest of all the cones, 11 to 21 inches long. Think of it! A cone as big as the biggest ear of corn at the county fair. L: 5, 3-4. Grows on mountain slopes and the sides of ravines and canyons from Oregon to California. It is helping to keep the snows and the rains and the cold out of hundreds of thousands of houses all over the country.

Long-Leaf: L: 3, 8-10; C: 6-10; 3 X 120. Grows from Virginia to Texas along the coastal plain. Also known as the Southern, Georgia, or Hard Pine. Hard, heavy, strong, durable, and so rich in resin that it is the chief source of our naval stores - tar, pitch, turpentine, and other resinous products. It supplies excellent wood for building railroad-cars, and for masts and other purpose requiring strong timbers, such as bridges and viaducts.

Short-Leaf or Yellow: L: 2, 3-5; C : 1 1/2-2 1/2; 4 X 120. About the same height, you see, as Brother Long-Leaf but considerably larger around the waist. Grows from New York south to Texas, and in the Mississippi Valley as far north as Missouri and Illinois. Not so hard or strong as Long-Leaf but used for the same purposes.

Cuban or Slash: L: 2-3; C : 2-6; 3 X 115. S. C. to La., along the coast in swampy land, hence the name "Slash," which, among other things, means "swamp-land." Same qualities and uses as Long-Leaf.

Loblolly: L: 3, 6-10; C : 3-5; 5 X 150. N. J. southward in swamps and lowland along tide-water; also on sandy borders of Pine barrens. Much used for box board.

Red or Norway: L : 2, 5-6 (its needles look like thin, graceful rapiers with which two squirrels might play at foils); C : 2-2 1/4; 3 X 120. Me. to Minn. and south to Pa. Medium between white and yellow Pines in quality. Largely used for bridges, buildings, piles, masts, and spars.

Jack-Pine: L : 1 1/4-2 3/4; C : 1 1/2-2; 2 X 70. We put little Jack's calling-card right beside that of the big Sugar-Pine because the contrast is so striking. Jack himself isn't much for size, when you come to compare him with the giants of the family, but he's a giant for good works, in proportion to his inches. Last summer, like enough, he helped keep the cattle and other live stock out of the corn and the pumpkin-patch, and probably he's just helped bring Uncle Charley and the folks to the Christmas dinner, and roasted the turkey and baked the pies; and, in the past, has carried many a Red Brother to and from his pappooses in the family wigwam. Jack-Pine is good for fuel, railroad-ties, and fence-posts, and the Indians always preferred it for their canoe frames. You'll notice its twin needles seem to turn away from each other, as if they'd had a falling out. From this it gets its scientific name, Pinus divaricata, the last half of which means "to stretch apart." It grows from Nova Scotia to Vermont and northern Indiana and Illinois. Like other Scrub-Pines, it belongs to "The Ancient and Honorable Society of Pioneers," going ahead into sandy regions and lands exhausted by thriftless farming and preparing the way for trees and crops requiring richer soil, as described in the September chapter.

Lodge-Pole Pine : L : 2, 1-3; C : 1 1/2-2; 2 1/2 X 100. Alaska to California and Colorado. Light, soft, weak, brittle wood. Used by the Indians for lodge-poles. Now used locally for ties, mine timbers, and inferior lumber.

Foxtail-Pine: L : 5, 1-1 1/2; C : 3 1/2-5; 2 inches x 40 feet. You can see, easily enough, where it gets its name; but, unlike Reynard, it wears its brush at the end of its tail--that is to say at the extremities of the branchlets. A peculiarity of the needles is that, instead of being neatly wrapped up at the ends, like a fried chop, as most needle clusters are, they are sheathless.


There are several "White" Pines, so called from the color of their wood. The Rocky Mountain White (L : 5, 1-3; C : 3-10; 5 X 80) grows in the Rockies from Canada to New Mexico and is used for lumber to some extent, but is not nearly so important as the Western White Pine (L : 5; C : 5-11; 8 X 50), which grows from British Columbia to California, Idaho, and Montana; and the White Pine (L : 5, 3-5; C : 4-8; 6 X 250) which is found from Maine to Minnesota, and from Newfoundland southward along the Appalachians, the Adirondacks, and the Alleghanies to Georgia. The wood of both is of the same high quality--light, soft, and easily worked--and is used for all purposes for which the very best Pine is desired. The Sugar-Pine, previously mentioned, is also a "White" Pine.

And, just because this wood is so valuable, what do you think has happened? It has been cut down so fast, without provision for new generations to follow, that it has almost disappeared in the East. Steps are now being taken to restore it to the forests. It is the tallest, most stately of the cone-bearers of the East and is always a member of the famous Chorus of the Elders. Don't you remember?

"The murmuring Pines and the Hemlocks,

Bearded with moss and, in garments green, indistinct in the twilight, Stand like Druids of old with voices sad and prophetic Stand, like harpers hoar, with beards that rest on their bosoms."


Why, just the poetry of the Pines and the curious things about them--as to why we always hear their solemn voices chanting in their dim cathedral aisles and why some wear long gray beards, "like harpers hoar"--all such we must now leave for some future time, and here briefly summarize the characteristics of other members of the Pine family--the most important Hemlocks, Spruces, Cedars, and so on.

Western Larch. (Leaves triangular, conspicuously keeled below, separate, 1-1 3/4 inches long; C : 1-1 1/2; 80 X 250.) British Columbia to Oregon and Montana. Very hard, heavy, durable, and close-grained. Used for ties, construction timbers, and lumber.

Tamarack: Is also a Larch--frequently called simply "the Larch." L : separate, 4-angled, 1-1 1/2 long; 2 X 60. Newfoundland to Minnesota, south to Pennsylvania. Hiawatha, so they say, when he wanted to build that canoe, asked the Tamarack to help him: "Give me of your roots, O Tamarack! Of your fibrous roots, O Larch Tree!" And because the Tamarack has roots that are just the thing, and because Hiawatha was so nice and polite about it, he got his canoe built and went and called on Minnehaha. In our prosaic days the Tamaracks put in most of their time helping make ties, posts, poles, ship timbers, and other things for which a hard, heavy, strong, and durable wood is wanted.

Douglas Spruce. (L : separate, 3/4-1 1/4; C : 4-6; 12 X 250.) Grows in all western mountain States. Heavy, hard, durable, strong wood. Used for general lumber, ties, and ship-building.

Red Spruce. (L : separate, 1/4-1/2; C : 1 1/4-2; 3 X 10.) St. Lawrence Valley, along Appalachians to North Carolina. Light, soft, close-grained, not durable. Used mainly for paper pulp, sounding-boards, and dimension timbers. (I see that Doctor Curtis, of the Department of Botany of Columbia, in a little guide-book to trees, just published, quotes a statement to the effect that a single issue of a Sunday paper requires the destruction of fifty-four acres of trees; and, I infer from what he says in this connection, that he doesn't think the trees are thus fulfilling their highest destiny!)

Sitka Spruce. (L : separate, 1/2-1; C : 2 1/2-4; 16 X 200.) Alaska to northern California along the coast. Lumber, cooperage, boats, pulp, and woodenware.

White Spruce. (L : 1-1 1/4; C : 2; 5 X 50.) Rockies, Arizona, to British Columbia. Light, soft wood; used locally for general lumber.

Hemlock. L : 1/3-2/3; C : 1/2-3/4; 4 X 125.) Maine to Minnesota and south along the Appalachians to Georgia. Soft, weak, brittle. Used only for coarse lumber and small dimensions.

Western Hemlock. (L : 1/4-3/4; C : 3/4-1; 8 X 250.) Alaska to California and Montana. Light, hard, tough, durable. Rough lumber and construction timbers.

White Fir. (L : 3/4-1 1/4; C : 3 1/2-6; 6 X 50.) Oregon to British Columbia along Pacific coast. Light, rather soft, and weak. Rough lumber, packing-cases, etc.

Noble Fir. (L : 1-1 1/2; C : 4-5; 8 X 250.) Pacific coast, Washington to California. Light, hard, strong. Used for lumber, construction, and cases.

Red Fir. (L : 3/4-1 1/2; C : 6-9; 10 X 200.) Western slopes of the Sierras. Light, soft, rather weak. Used for rough lumber, construction, and boxes.

Bald Cypress. (L : 1/2-3/4; C: like a mass of tiny apple dumplings, all stuck together, the whole making a ball about an inch in diameter; 12 X 150.) Del. to Tex., along the coast and up to Ind. and Ill. Very workable, light, soft, and durable. Ties, posts, cooperage, doors, and inside trim.

Sequoias: At once the Goliaths and the Methuselahs of the world of trees, some of them being several thousand years old. One species, known as the "Big Tree" (35 X 320) (L: 1/4-1/2; C: 2-3 1/2), grows on the western slopes of the Sierras; another, called simply the Redwood, in the northern coast region. Both are California trees. (L : 1/4-1/2; C : 3/4-1; 20 X 350.) Their wood--light, soft, and weak, but durable--is used for shingles, grape-stakes, ties, and general lumber.

Arbor-Vitce or White Cedar, shown in our illustration (L : 1/4; C : 1/3-1/2; 1 1/2 X 60), grows from Nova Scotia to Minn., south to N. C. Light, soft, and brittle, but very durable. Used for shingles, poles, and posts.

White Cedar. (L : 1/4-1/2; C : 3/4-1; 8 X 200.) Southern Oregon and California. Weak and brittle, but durable. Shingles and general lumber.

Lawson's Cypress. (L : 1/16-1/4; C : 1/3 diam.; 12 X 200.) Oregon and California, along the coast. Light, hard, strong, and durable. Flooring, ties, ships, matches, and general lumber.

Red Cedar. (L : 1/2-3/4; C : 1/4-1/3; 4 X 100.) Widely distributed east of the Rocky Mountains. Light, soft, and close-grained. Pencils, cabinets, posts, and chests.

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