Whitebark Pine Ecosystem Foundation (WPEF)

We are a science-based non-profit dedicated to counteracting the decline of whitebark pine and enhancing knowledge about the value of its ecosystems.


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Whitebark Pine Ecosystem Foundation
PO Box 17943
Missoula, Montana 59808

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Whitebark pine

Pinus albicaulis

Whitebark pine

Whitebark pine

Tree: to 70′ (shorter with increased elevation) and 8′ DBH; often multi-stemmed with upswept branches in crown, sometimes single-trunked

Bark: whitish-gray to whitish-brown, thinly furrowed blocking patterns in older trees (somewhat scaly); new growth is white; sap smells fruity

Needles: 1.5”- 3.5”, yellow-green, stiff, in bundles of 5, wrapped near the stem, some stomatal bloom on all surfaces

Seed Cones: 2”- 3”, purplish, resinous, egg-shaped to spherical and quite symmetrical, do not open on tree at maturity

Habitat: 6,000′-12,200′, subalpine, arid, exposed—only at the upper reaches of highest peaks throughout the western mountains

Observations: easily seen in the high country of Yosemite, Crater Lake, Mount Rainier, and North Cascades national parks

Remarks: decorating ridgelines, windshorn specimens are quite charismatic; most susceptible white pines to white pine blister rust, that fungi—coupled with bark beetle infestations—placed whitebark pine on the endangered species list in Canada in 2012

Information from Conifers of the Pacific Slope by Michael Kauffmann.