Pinus strobus L.
Eastern white pine, Pin blanc (French), Weymouth pine
Pinus strobus, the Eastern White Pine, is characterized by fascicles of 5 fine needles with a nonpersistent bundle sheath, and relatively soft, unarmed, elongate seed cones whose scales are spread at maturity. The native range of eastern white pine stretches from southeastern Manitoba to Newfoundland in Canada and from Minnesota and Iowa eastward to Maine and Pennsylvania, with a southward Appalachian extension to Tennessee and Georgia and isolated occurrences in western Kentucky, Illinois, and Indiana. The species also has become naturalized from plantings, both within its historical range and elsewhere, including portions of Europe, Asia, New Zealand, and Australia. A related taxon in portions of southern Mexico and Guatemala is sometimes treated as Pinus strobus var. chiapensis, but more often as a distinct species, Pinus chiapensis.
Natural stands of Pinus strobus occur in a variety of habitats, ranging from dune forests to bogs and mixed conifer/hardwood forests. The species also colonizes old fields and other former agricultural lands that are reverting back to forests. It has been planted extensively in plantations and is also used to revegetate mine spoils. The species also is cultivated commonly as a shade and ornamental tree
Eastern White Pine is an important timber tree for the production of softwood lumber. The wood is used for construction, cabinetry and furniture-making, handcrafts, and various other woodworking. Native American tribes used it extensively for various medicinal properties and it is an important food source for wildlife. The long history of cultivation has led to the development of numerous cultivars and forms. The species is affected by the exotic white pine blister rust Cronartium ribicola, an important pathogen of timber trees in the white pine group in temperate North America.
Evolution and Systematics
Systematics and Taxonomy
A disjunct population of white pines in southern Mexico and Guatemala was first described as P. strobus var. chiapensis and is still treated as such by a few authors (e.g. Farjon 1997, Flora Neotropica Monograph 75: 215). It was raised to specific rank as P. chiapensis by Andresen (1964, Phytologia 10: 417), a treatment now accepted by a majority of authors and supported by genetic research, which shows it is very distinct genetically, sharing no alleles with P. strobus and forming a distinct clade of its own, sister to two clades of American and Asian species (Liston et al. 2003, Proc. Fourth International Conifer Conference: 107-114; Syring et al. 2007a, Systematic Biology 56: 163-181; Syring et al. 2007b, Syst. Bot. 32: 703-717).
Although fairly similar to P. strobus in foliage morphology, P. chiapensis differs clearly in cone morphology, here showing a much closer resemblance to several Eurasian white pines, notably P. peuce from SE Europe and P. dalatensis from Vietnam.