E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

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

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Bryan Kelly-McArthur  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #86441)

E-Flora BC Static Map
Distribution of Pinus ponderosa
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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

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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.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

USDA Species Characteristics

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

Habitat / 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.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


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) 220 781 1896
Slope Gradient (%) 0 31 244
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 199 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 2 7
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number 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)

Ecological Indicator Information

A very shade-intolerant, montane, North American evergreen conifer distributed in the Pacific, Cordilleran, and Central regions (rare in the coastal region of British Columbia). Occurs in cool temperate and cool semiarid climates on very dry to moderately dry, nitrogen-medium soils; its occurrence decreases with increasing latitude, elevation, and precipitation. Grows in pure or mixed-species stands (usually with Douglas-fir) on calciumĀ­rich, water-shedding sites in the southern coast-interior ecotone. Most productive on fresh and nutrient-rich soils within cool temperate climates. Characteristic of dry continental forests.

SourceIndicator Plants of Coastal British Columbia (Information applies to coastal locations only)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is cool temperate & cool semiarid.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Pinus ponderosa subsp. jeffreyi (Balf.) Engelm.
Pinus ponderosa subsp. washoensis (H. Mason & Stockw.) E. Murray

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References