The United States is home to 35 species of native pine (Pinus) trees. Many foreign pine trees have also been introduced to the area with great success. Pines are considered to be coniferous trees, which means the tree bears cones instead of flowers for seed distribution. They are evergreen and produce needles as foliage. Pine trees are valued for their wood production, as Christmas trees and for the production of resin, which is used in many items such as adhesives, varnishes and perfumes.
The lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta) grows 70 feet in height with a 24-inch diameter. The tree is capable of creating both male and female cones. According to the Utah State University, the pine cones will stay on lodgepole pines for years until a forest fire ignites to generate temperatures between 113 to 140 degrees F to open the cones, melt the resin and release the seeds. The lodgepole pine grows at an elevation above 6,000 feet . The trees can thrive on a wide variety of soil types. The trees are widely logged for the production of lumber used in home building, poles and fences.
Eastern White Pine
The eastern white pine (Pinus strobus) is a rapid-growing forest tree that is used widely for logging. The trees are also highly valued as Christmas trees. The trees begin cone production between 5 and 10 years of age. The tree reaches the height of cone production at 90 years of age. The eastern white pine can achieve a height of up to 158 feet. The tree's lifespan can exceed 450 years, according to the National Forest Service. The tree's seed production feeds a diverse range of birds and wildlife. The wood of the tree is used to produce antiseptics.
The bristlecone pine tree (Pinus longaeva) is the oldest known tree species in the world, according to World Biomes. The trees live in arid mountain regions between an elevation of 10,000 and 11,000 feet. The oldest living bristlecone pine is believed to be 4,789 years old. The tree's appearance is gnarled and twisted from the weather and the passing of time. Much of the bristlecone pine tree's wood is dead. The tree's dead wood works almost like armor to protect the tree from weather extremes. Seeds are produced that are viable on the bristlecone pine no matter what the tree's age is. The trees normally grow only 20 feet in height.
The ponderosa pine tree (Pinus ponderosa) grows at lower elevations. The trees commonly grow in groves of Douglas fir, lodgpole, quacking aspen and larch. Ponderosa pines are drought-tolerant and very hardy. The tree can grow 180 feet with a diameter of 4 feet. A large variety of birds live in the trees and consume the the seeds. During harsh winters, deer will forage seedlings to survive. The tree's wood is valued in the timber industry and the resin is commonly used in glues.