Sugar Pine

Pinus lambertiana

Sugar Pine
Family:
Pine (Pinaceae)
Size:
On best sites, 175′ to 180′; 2′ – 3′ diameter; largest tree recorded by Forest Service was 246′
Age:
About 300 years; occasionally 500-600 yrs; Forest Service record 623 yrs.
Bark:
Grayish brown to purplish brown on old trunks; broken by irregular fissures; similar to that of Jeffrey pine, but is redder; 1 ½” – 4″ thick
Needles:
Bundles of 5 short needles; 2”- 4”; blue-green to gray-green, spirally twisted; persistent until 2nd or 3rd season
Cones:
Cylindrical; 12” – 26”; longest of pine cones; 4″- 5″ diameter when open; yellowish-brown in color
Elevation:
5000’ to 8000’
Comments:
Sugar pine gets its name from the sugary sweet sap. Indians and early settlers chewed it as a gum. However, it is often reported as tasting like gasoline and has strong laxative properties. Young trees have spire tops, but are flattened in the majestic old trees. The older trees often have drooping branches. John Muir considered this the most beautiful of all pine trees. The wood is valuable for use as interior lumber.
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