Pinus ponderosa Lawson & C. Lawson
ponderosa pine (yellow pine)
Pinaceae (Pine family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants


© Bryan Kelly-McArthur     (Photo ID #86441)


E-Flora BC Static Map

Distribution of Pinus ponderosa
Click here to view the full interactive map and legend


This is an evergreen coniferous species of tree that is found from southern BC south to California, New Mexico, Texas, Nebraska and South Dakota.

Species Information

Tree to 40-50 m tall; bark thick, deeply furrowed, dark reddish-brown or blackish when young, changing to cinnamon red when older and exfoliating as irregular scales.
Needles mostly in threes, often twos, occasionally fours or fives, (10) 12-20 (25) cm long, clustered towards branch ends; yellowish-green.
Seed cones near branch tips, deep reddish-purple when young, maturing late in second year, turning brown; egg-shaped, 8-14 cm long; scales brown with thickened, yellowish, prickly tip; pollen cones yellow to purplish, strongly clustered.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


If more than one illustration is available for a species (e.g., separate illustrations were provided for two subspecies) then links to the separate images will be provided below. Note that individual subspecies or varietal illustrations are not always available.

USDA Species Characteristics

Flower Colour:
Blooming Period:
Mid Spring
Fruit/Seed characteristics:
Colour: Brown
Present from Summer to Fall
Source:  The USDA


Ecological Framework for Pinus ponderosa

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres)
781 220 1896
Slope Gradient (%)
31 0 244

Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]

199 0 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
2 0 7
Modal Nutrient Regime
# of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class

All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in

BG(154), ESSF(10), ICH(162), IDF(863), MS(34), PP(540)

Habitat and Range

Mesic to dry slopes, river terraces and flats in the steppe and montane zones; common in SC and SE BC; S to CA, NM, TX, NE, and SD.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Synonyms and Alternate Names:
Pinus ponderosa subsp. jeffreyi (Balf.) Engelm.
Pinus ponderosa subsp. washoensis (H. Mason & Stockw.) E. Murray