Learn which plants thrive in your Hardiness Zone with our new interactive map!

History of Pine Trees

By Charles Pearson ; Updated September 21, 2017
Pine trees can become very tall.

Pine trees are common both in the United States and throughout the world. Given how widespread pine trees are, it is difficult to determine where they originated from, especially since there is a lack of fossils. Pine trees even played a role in getting New Hampshire to join the rest of the Colonies in the Revolutionary War.


Pine trees have spread throughout the world. Pine trees once were used as a form of decoration by Native Americans. Stone pine trees might have originated from China, according to 20-20. These trees have very round canopies, which has earned them the nickname "umbrella pine." This early pine has migrated to West Texas and Oklahoma, according to the University of Florida.


The wood of pine trees has been used by several cultures to create carpentry products. In Europe, the pine tree has been used to create ship masts, according to 20-20. The seeds of the pine tree have been consumed throughout history and taste like hazelnuts.

Pine Tree Riot

An event called The Pine Tree Riot occurred in the 1700s in New Hampshire. White pine trees were used for the masts of English ships, and not very many English ships were left due to the depletion of the trees as a natural resource. White pine trees in New Hampshire that were 15 to 36 inches in diameter were marked as King’s trees and could not be cut down. Many mill owners cut down these pines anyway, and they were fined as a result, according to the New Hampshire History Curriculum. The mill owners refused to pay their fines. Therefore, a warrant was issued for the arrest of one of the owners. In defense of this mill owner, eight men ambushed the sheriff and cut off his horses' ears and manes in order to reduce their value.

Torrey Pines

The Torrey Pines are a grove of pine trees that Spanish explorers used as a landmark, between 1500 and 1700, to avoid crashing into the rocks along the Southern California coast in the fog, according to the Torrey Pine State Natural Reserve. The Torrey Pines were also used to mark the boundaries between the United States and Mexico during the 1850s. The pines were named the Torrey Pines after Dr. John Torrey, who was a famous botanists at the time. The Torrey Pines became a public park in 1899.

Ancient Pines

Some specimens of the longleaf pines of Alabama are as old as 350 years, according to Auburn University. Many of these trees have become threatened by fires, which not only can burn these ancient trees down to simple minerals but also leave them vulnerable to beetle infestation.


About the Author


Charles Pearson has written as a freelancer since 2009. He has a B.S. in literature from Purdue University Calumet and is currently working on his M.A. He has written the ebooks "Karate You Can Teach Your Kids," "Macadamia Growing Handout" and "The Raw Food Diet."