pinus

Pines are unique amongst conifers, as their needles are clustered in definite numbers.

For those native to the Pacific Northwest, there are two-needled, three-needled and five-needled types, and indeed counting the number of needles is the first step in identifying a pine’s species.

Native Pine
Unique puzzle bark of Pinus ponderosa.

Every area of our region has its own distinct species of Pine – from the twisted shore pine found along the coast to the massively upward, bold yellow pine in vast open areas east of the Cascades.

Some are too gargantuan for the home garden and are best enjoyed in the wild or in urban parks and wild areas. Others can be kept pruned even as far as into a suitable bonsai specimen. Of the eight or nine species native to our region, there are several that are commonly available.


Five-needled Pines

Native Pine

Pinus monticola: Western White Pine

This is the bearer of the classic Pine Cone, and is probably the most widely distributed of our native pines, even though it is highly susceptible to the white pine blister-rust disease. Easy to grow, the needles are soft and the bark has a slightly raised checkerboard texture. Though it can easily reach fifty feet in a garden setting, it is adaptable to pruning and shaping and so can be kept smaller and so more adaptable to the home garden.


Three-needled Pines

Native Pine

Pinus ponderosa: Ponderosa Pine

This massive tree is highly recognizable with its five-inch long needles and bristly brown cones, sloughing puzzle bark, either standing alone or mixed with other conifers, mostly east of the Cascades; this is the Yellow pine that can grow up to two hundred feet with a maximum girth of fifteen to twenty feet! But there is also a strain of Pinus ponderosa that is native to the Willamette Valley, a little smaller in stature and more adaptable to our wetter weather. This is the one typically stocked in our nursery.


Two-needled Pines

Native Pine

Pinus contorta var. contorta: Shore Pine

This lowland variety is the western Shore Pine; found along the water in the San Juan Islands and along the coast of Washington and Oregon.

They are smallish trees, beautiful and sparse with tiny cones, often twisted and bent from the coastal winds, making them appear like oversized bonsai trees.

Native Pine

Pinus contorta: Lodgepole Pine vs. Pinus contorta var. murrayana: Murrayana Pine

The Lodgepole Pine and Murrayana Pine (Pinus contorta var. murrayana) are similar genetically, but look very different from each other.

The tall, straight matchstick form of the Lodgepole Pine can grow over 100’ in its native environment. It’s been used for centuries by northwest indigenous peoples for framing teepees and building lodges.

Murrayana Pine, or Sierra Pine – Pinus contorta var. murrayana is dwarfed and twisted like its coastal cousin in the face of harsh, high mountain wind and weather. It grows very slowly, around 1-2 inches per year, so it takes eons to gain any size. If removed from its subalpine habitat (legally with permits of course) and grown at lower elevations, it grows slightly faster (up to 4”/yr), and its scraggly look fills in gradually, but it never shoots up like a Lodgepole Pine.

Native Pine
Pinus contorta var. murrayana --- Right image: growing at subalpine elevation in the Wallowas.

Find Natives for your garden

We offer a great selection of Northwest Natives from spring through fall. The plants featured are highlighted favorites, but they do not represent ALL of the plants we carry. For a more complete list, see our Northwest Native Plant List.

Natives

Abies: Native Fir

Natives

Acer Circinatum: Vine Maple

Natives

Actaea: Bugbane

Natives

Aquilegia: Columbine

Natives

Arbutus: Pacific Madrone

Natives

Asarum: Wild Ginger

Natives

Asclepias: Milkweed

Natives

Attracting Butterflies

Natives

Camassia: Camas

Natives

Ceanothus: Wild Lilac

Natives

Cornus sericea

Red Twig Dogwood
Natives

Corylus cornuta

Beaked Hazelnut
Natives

Dodecatheon: Shooting Star

Natives

Edible Fruits

Natives

Erigeron: Fleabane

Natives

Eriophyllum: Oregon Sunshine

Natives

Native Ferns

Natives

Fragaria: Wild Strawberry

Natives

Gaultheria shallon: Salal

Natives

Holodiscus: Oceanspray

Natives

Attracting Hummingbirds

Natives

Native Iris

Natives

Lewisia: Bitterroot

Natives

Mahonia: Oregon Grape

Natives

Malus fusca

Western Crabapple
Natives

Osmaronia: Indian Plum

Natives

Penstemon: Beard Tongue

Natives

Philadelphus: Mock Orange

Natives

Physocarpus

Western Ninebark
Natives

Pinus: Native Pine

Natives

Quercus: Garry Oak

Natives

Rhamnus: Cascara

Natives

Ribes: Wild Currant

Natives

Rosa: Wild Rose

Natives

Rubus: Salmonberry

Natives

Sambucus: Elderberry

Natives

Sedum: Stonecrop

Natives

Sidalcea: Checker Mallow

Natives

Sisyrinchium

Blue-eyed Grass
Natives

Solidago: Goldenrod

Natives

Symphoricarpos: Snowberry

Natives

Synthyris: Native Figwort

Natives

Trillium: Wake Robin

Natives

Vaccinium: Huckleberry

Natives

Vancouveria: Inside-out Flower

Natives

Viburnum trilobum

Cranberrybush
Natives

Viola: Violet

Natives

Winter Interest