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19 Different Types of Pine Trees (With Pictures)

pine trees

In North America alone, there are 49 species of native pine trees. Not only are there tons of pines around, but they are one of the most easily recognized trees. Even though many people can recognize a pine, few know how to distinguish between the different species of pines.

In this article, we are going to look at the 19 most common pine trees. At the end, we also discuss some characteristics shared by all pine trees. Let’s get started.

The 19 Types of Pine Trees Are:

1. Eastern White Pine

Eastern white pine branch
Image By: Nahhana, Shutterstock

Scientific Name: Pinus strobus
Native To: North America
Needles: Five needles per bundle

The Eastern White Pine is considered one of the most important trees in North America. It is used for both timber and landscape because the tree is both fast-growing and long-lived. By nature, the Eastern White Pine accepts pruning readily, but the tree handles pollution very poorly.

2. Western White Pine

Western white pine
Image By: Weloveyou, Shutterstock

Scientific Name: Pinus monticola
Native To: Western US and Canada
Needles: Five needles per bundle

As you likely figured, the Western White Pine is closely related to the Eastern one. These pines are incredibly large, so large that they are rarely used for landscaping purposes. You can find Western White Pines near the mountains and sea level of the western United States.

3. Sugar Pine

sugar pines in the mountains
Image By: Ken Wolter, Shutterstock

Scientific Name: Pinus lambertiana
Native To: California, Oregon, Nevada, and Mexico
Needles: Five needles per bundle

The Sugar Pine is the tallest of the pine species and has long cones. Shockingly, the cones can grow to be two feet in length. Because of how large this pine tree is, it is never used for landscaping purposes.

4. Red Pine

Scientific Name: Pinus resinosa
Native To: Northern US and Canada
Needles: Two needles per bundle

The Red Pine is an ideal ornamental plant, but only in the northern US and Canada because of its required environment. The tree is very tall and comes with a top crown that becomes more rounded as the tree ages.

5. Scots Pine

scots pine
Image Credit: Coilin, Pixabay

Scientific Name: Pinus sylvestris
Native To: Asia and Europe
Needles: Two needles per bundle

If you celebrate Christmas, you are likely very familiar with the Scots Pine. This pine is commercially grown as Christmas trees, but smaller varieties are often used for landscaping purposes.

6. Limber Pine

Scientific Name: Pinus flexilis
Native To: North America
Needles: Five needles per bundle

Limber Pines are often planted in areas that need trees but have notoriously difficult soil. Unlike other trees, the Limber Pine is adaptable and can grow easily in challenging soils.

7. Coulter Pine

Tall Coulter pine
Image Credit: L.A. Nature Graphics, Shutterstock

Scientific Name: Pinus coulteri
Native To: California and Mexico
Needles: Three needles per bundle

The Coulter Pine is a large tree that has very heavy cones. It can be found in coastal California, but it is more commonly found in Mexico. Despite its large size, there is very little commercial use of the Coulter Pine. It is sometimes used as an ornamental tree or firewood, but most people prefer other pines for both of these purposes.

8. Gray Pine

Scientific Name: Pinus sbiniana
Native To: California
Needles: Three needles per bundle

The Gray Pine has many names, including the California Foothill, Foothill, Bull, and Digger Pine. These pines are unusual because they have a forked trunk. Because of their unique appearance, Gray Pines are rarely used for ornamental purposes.

9. Jack Pine

Scientific Name: Pinus banksiana
Native To: Northern United States and Canada
Needles: Two twisted needles

The Jack Pine is one of the most easily identifiable pines but is rarely used for ornamental purposes because of its scruffy look. In rural settings, it can be used as windbreaks. You may hear locals refer to the Jack Pine as the Gray Pine, but it is different from the pine mentioned above.

10. Longleaf Pine

Longleaf pines
Image Credit: Wildnerdpix, Shutterstock

Scientific Name: Pinus alustris
Native To: Southern US
Needles: Three needles per bundle

Although not common throughout the entire United States, the Longleaf Pine can easily be found in the southern states. It has a tall and straight trunk with long needles. In fact, some needles can be as long as 18 inches. The Longleaf Pine is often used for pulpwood and lumber.

11. Loblolly Pine

Loblolly Pines
Image Credit: Linda Hughes Photography, Shutterstock

Scientific Name: Pinus taeda
Native To: United States
Needles: Three needles per bundle

Loblolly Pines are almost exclusively found in damp and boggy conditions, such as in the southeastern United States. With a straight trunk, the tree loses its lower branches as it ages. As a result, the Loblolly Pine’s crown is far above the ground.

12.  Virginia Pine

Virginia pine
Image By: Nikolay Kurzenko, Shutterstock

Scientific Name: Pinus virginiana
Native To: Eastern US
Needles: Two needles per bundle

The Virginia Pine is a relatively small species that is often used as a Christmas tree. Because of its yellow-gold color, it is often used as a landscaping tree in the winter as well. Sometimes, Virginia Pines are called Jersey Pines or Spruce Pines.

13. Ponderosa Pine

ponderosa pine
Image Credit: Pixabay

Scientific Name: Pinus ponderosa
Native To: United States and Canada
Needles: Three needles per bundle

The Ponderosa Pine is a highly sought-after species because it is ideal for both ornamental and commercial purposes. The thick, straight trunk makes for perfect lumber, whereas its deeply fissured bark makes the tree ideal in large landscapes.

14. Austrian Pine

Scientific Name: Pinus nigra
Native To: Cyprus, Northern Africa, Southern Europe, and Turkey
Needles: Two tufts per bundle

Sometimes called the European Black Pine, the Austrian is a large pine with a pyramid-like shape. Many Austrian Pines are susceptible to pests and diseases, though. Especially when they are planted in the Midwest, Austrian Pines need a lot of maintenance.

15. Bristlecone Pine

bristlecone pine
Image Credit: Pixabay

Scientific Name: Pinus aristata
Native To: Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico
Needles: Five needles per bundle

Bristlecone Pines are only found in the southern Rocky Mountains. Unlike other pine trees, the Bristlecone is a dwarf species. Although small, Bristlecone Pines are some of the oldest plants on the planet, some of which are more than 4,000 years old.

16.  Foxtail Pine

Scientific Name: Pinus blfouriana
Native To: California
Needles: Five needles per bundle

The Foxtail Pine is almost exclusively found around the tree lines in the Sierra mountains. As a result, it is a rare tree. Although nature lovers may be able to enjoy these pines regularly, most city dwellers will never see them because it is never grown for landscaping purposes.

17.  Italian Stone Pine

Scientific Name: Pinus pinea
Native To: Lebanon, Turkey, and Southern Europe
Needles: Two needles per bundle

If you have never been out of the United States, you have likely never seen the Italian Stone Pine. It is rarely brought over to the US, but it is very attractive and even grown as a food crop in the Mediterranean region because it has an umbrella shape and features edible pignoli nuts.

18.  Japanese White Pine

Scientific Name: Pinus parviflora
Native To: Japan and South Korea
Needles: Five needles per bundle

The Japanese White Pine is a favorite among bonsai enthusiasts. It is slow-growing and branches out so that the branching pattern has a flat top. The foliage is fine with a blueish color.

19.  Lacebark Pine

lacebark pine
Image Credit: Alena Charykova, Shutterstock

Scientific Name: Pinus bungeana
Native To: China
Needles: Three needles per bundle

The Lacebark Pine is often mistaken for a Sycamore because it has a unique exfoliative bark. Though only native to China, you can find Lacebark Pines all over the globe because they are a favorite for ornamental purposes.

You might also be interested in: 20 Different Types of Maple Trees

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Characteristics of Pine Trees

Even though there are a lot of species of pine trees, all share basic characteristics.

The most easily identifiable characteristic of pine trees is the leaves. Instead of traditional leaves, pine trees have needles that are sheathed together and attached to a twig. These leaves only drop bi-annually, which allows pine trees to appear evergreen.

Another characteristic of all pine trees is that they have cones. Some pine cones drop, whereas others only open to release seeds whenever temperatures get too hot. Pine trees have two types of cones, one that produces pollen and another that produces and drops seeds.

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Final Thoughts

Even though we only covered 19 pine trees, there are around 120 species in total. Although most pine trees are found in northern temperate regions, you can find them distributed all around the globe. So, try to find a pine tree next time you go out!

Featured Image Credit: Pixabay


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