Skip to main content

Plants We Love: Ponderosa Pine

Pinus ponderosa is one of the most common native pines in North America. This stunning evergreen is greatly appreciated in the landscape, especially when winter settles in. Green needles add much needed color in the landscape and the dense canopy offers small animals and birds a shelter in the storm.

Ponderosa Pine

Common Name: Ponderosa pine
Botanical Name:Pinus ponderosa
Height: 65 feet
Width: 30 feet
Shape: Open, pyramidal crown
Bark: Cinnamon colored and flakey
Needles: 4­–8 inches long, evergreen and flexible. 3 needles to a bundle
Trunk: 3­–4 feet across


Ponderosa pines can live up to 55 years or more. They have straight, tall, thick trunks. With your eyes closed you can identify this tree by its scent—a mixture of vanilla and butterscotch. The seeds of the tree are spread by the wind and offer a natural food source for the wildlife on your property. The pines make an excellent windbreak and provide erosion control. They resist low-level fires and adapt to a wide range of sites, exposures and soils.

Photo courtesy of GreatPlants.