3 Common Types of Pine Trees in Idaho

Like other states in the northwestern part of the United States, Idaho is no stranger to pine trees. In fact, the state is home to more than 20 types of trees, including softwoods, hardwoods, evergreens, and deciduous trees. Included in these categories are trees such as fir, birch, cottonwood, poplar, hemlock, and of course, pine.

Pine trees are coniferous trees and get very large. They are also able to live from 100 to 1,000 years. There are four different types of leaves, with the most-common being the needle-like leaves.

The wood of the pine tree is very hard and sturdy, which is why it is used so often in construction, furniture, and even flooring. Occasionally, pine shrubs can grow, and these are usually around 10 feet in height.

Most pine trees have thick and scaly bark, as well as both male and female cones. The seeds inside these cones are usually small and winged, and they are often used as food sources for wildlife and sometimes even humans.

There are four different types of leaves, including needles, and the needles usually grow in groups of between two and five, sometimes seven. If you’re researching pine trees in the state of Idaho and would like additional information, read on.

1. Lodgepole Pine (Pinus contorta)

Lodgepole Pine Pinus Contorta Var. Latifolia
Matt Lavin Lodgepole Pine (Pinus Contorta Var. Latifolia)

The wood of the Lodgepole pine is often used in construction, and it even has medicinal purposes in some cultures. Also called a twisted or shore pine tree, this tree has very resinous needles and very prickly cones. They grow from 130 to 160 feet tall, and their branches are very thick. The branches also hang down in an elegant manner, and they are very strong and hard to break.

2. Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa)

pinus ponderosa
Katja Schulz Pinus ponderosa (Ponderosa pine) in forest

With a height of roughly 230 feet and a circumference of up to 27 feet, the Ponderosa pine is quite regal-looking and demands respect. This beauty is often found in public parks and gardens and in fact, the tallest one on record is a huge 268 feet tall. It has bright-green needles and bark that is brownish-black in color, making it a head-turner indeed.

With bright-green needles and brownish-black bark, the Ponderosa pine is a very attractive tree that will lend some ambiance to any outdoor area it is in.

3. White Bark Pine (Pinus albicaulis Engelm.)

White Bark Pine Pinus Albicaulis
flickr | J Brew White Bark Pine Pinus Albicaulis

The white bark pine can also be called the white or creeping pine tree, and its female cones are dark purple when fully mature and usually get up to three inches in length. In fact, the seeds provide great nourishment for a variety of wildlife, and the white bark pine tree looks very similar to other pine trees, including the Lodgepole, Ponderosa, and Jeffrey. Most of the time, only the experts or more experienced people can tell the difference between these trees.

Not only is the white bark pine found in Idaho and Oregon, but it is also found in many mountainous areas throughout the northwestern United States and parts of Canada as well.