Pinus strobus


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Pinus strobus
Species Authority: L.
Infra-specific Taxa Assessed:
Common Name(s):
English Eastern White Pine, Weymouth Pine
French Pin blanc
Taxonomic Notes: Two varieties of Pinus strobus are recognized (Farjon 2010): the typical variety which is widespread in eastern North America (and not assessed separately) and var. chiapensis Martínez which has a limited distribution in southern Mexico and Guatemala and which is assessed separately.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2011-04-11
Assessor(s): Farjon, A.
Reviewer(s): Stritch, L. & Thomas, P.
The vast extent of occurrence (EOO) in North America and the fact that the variety Pinus strobus var. strobus in many places is now again spreading and increasing, places it firmly as Least Concern. This assessment of the typical variety determines that of the entire species.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Recorded from eastern North America: from Newfoundland to northern Georgia, westward to Manitoba and Minnesota. In southern Mexico and Guatemala (highlands) the variety chiapensis has a restricted distribution.
Canada (Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland I, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward I., Québec); Guatemala; Mexico (Chiapas, Guerrero, Oaxaca, Puebla, Veracruz); United States (Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin)
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: In North America this species is abundant over a huge range.
Population Trend: Increasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Pinus strobus is widely (and disjunctly) distributed in regions as widely different in climate and topography as Newfoundland and Chiapas, Mexico. The variety strobus is confined to the NE part of the species range, where winters are cold and snowy; var. chiapensis occurs in the wet mountains with frequent fog in the southern part. These populations were once connected, presumably as late as the last Ice Age, when P. strobus and other trees were all pushed southward before the advance of the Laurentide Ice Sheet. In the northern part, P. strobus mainly grows in the lowland hills around the St. Lawrence River and the Great Lakes, in the Appalachian Mountains to 1,200 m a.s.l. In its southern extension it is confined to much higher altitudes between 800 m and 2,200 m a.s.l. Annual precipitation varies greatly from area to area, with lows at around 500 mm and highs in Mexico to 3,000 mm. The southern var. chiapensis experiences no frost, while long and cold winters are the norm in most of the range of var. strobus. Both varieties are major or minor components of mixed forests, with other conifers and/or with broad-leaved trees. There is a similarity of several broad-leaved (angiosperm) tree species in the forests of the southern Appalachians and the mountains of Veracruz and Chiapas, Mexico, but in the colder north P. strobus grows with species not common to both the northern and southern ranges.
Systems: Terrestrial

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Eastern White Pine was once the most important timber tree in eastern North America and in colonial times the British government forbade European colonists to cut the larger trees (marked with the 'broad arrow') as it wished to reserve these for the British Navy as ship masts. Its fine grained, smooth textured wood low in resin makes excellent construction timbers, while doors and windows, furniture, and matches are other uses. In the USA and Canada it is widely planted both for timber and for urban planting as shelter belts, as well as restoration of areas disturbed by strip mining of coal. Americans and Canadians use this pine for Christmas trees as its foliage can be clipped into shape. As an ornamental tree it is not very common in Europe, probably due to susceptability to White Pine Blister Rust (Cronartium ribicola, Basidiomycota) and poor shape in cultivation. Attempts at forestry plantation in Britain also failed due to this disease, as well as to aphid insect predation (Pineus strobus). In the colder, drier winters of North America it thrives better; several cultivars are well known and used in gardens, especially some of the dwarfed forms

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The vast resources of timber available to European colonists from this large pine had been depleted towards the end of the nineteenth century. However, as regrowth occurred, this has not threatened the continued existence and occurrence of the species significantly. Hence, while old growth Eastern White Pine is now very rare, under the Red List Criteria P. strobus is not under threat. The situation with var. chiapensis in Mexico and Guatemala is more serious, with deforestation the main threat, followed by targeted logging of this valuable timber.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species is known from several protected areas within its extensive range.

Bibliography [top]

Burns, R.M. and Honkala, B.H. 1990. Silvics of North America. USDA, Forest Service, Washington, DC.

Farjon, A. 2010. Conifer Database (June 2008) In Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life: 2010 Annual Checklist (Bisby F.A., Roskov Y.R., Orrell T.M., Nicolson D., Paglinawan L.E., Bailly N., Kirk P.M., Bourgoin T., Baillargeon G., eds). Reading, UK. Available at:

Farjon, A. 2010. A Handbook of the World's Conifers. Koninklijke Brill, Leiden.

IUCN. 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2013.1). Available at: (Accessed: 12 June 2013).

Citation: Farjon, A. 2013. Pinus strobus. In: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <>. Downloaded on 01 April 2015.
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