This tree has a cone shaped top and grows 30 to 50 meters tall. Ponderosa pine has two or three needles in a bunch and yellow to red-brown bark. In the hot sun it can smell like vanilla.
RANGE & HABITAT
Ponderosa pine is found in southern British Columbia in the rolling hills and near the Okanagan valley grassland. It can survive in the hot dry climate with minimal rainfall because it has a large taproot that can grow into the ground up to 46 metres to retrieve water.
Ponderosa pine has thick, fire resistant bark and needs frequent, low intensity fires to survive and open its seed cones.
Many wildlife eat the seeds, including birds, squirrels and chipmunks.
TRADITIONAL USES BY INDIGENOUS PEOPLES
The tree trunks are hollowed out to make canoes, ladles and spoons, and cradles to carry a baby on their parent’s back. Fragrant branches are used to line floors and mattresses and the sap or pitch can be chewed as gum or applied to sores.
The bark can be used to make red dye. Pine wood is used for heavy construction, like house beams. It is a commercially important wood for lumber and logging has cut down many large stands.
COSEWIC: Not at Risk
Photo: Nancy Turner