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The Flora of Mount Shasta

Whitebark Pine

Pine Family (Pinaceae) Pinus albicaulis
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Mountain pine tree on Mount Shasta.  Photograph by Carleton E. Watkins circa 1870
Mountain pine tree on Mount Shasta
Photograph by Carleton E. Watkins circa 1870

Growth Form: Often has a distorted trunk, especially in exposed, timberline habitats. In protected locations the tree may have a 50 foot straight trunk.

Leaves: 5 needles per sheathless bundle, 1 1/2" to 3 1/2" long. leaves persist 4 to 8 years.

Bark: Thin, scaly, grayish-white to grayish-brown

Cones: Globular, closed, scales thick, purplish to purplish-brown, 1 1/2' to 3" long.

Found: Rocky subalpine soils, Klamath, Cascade, and Sierra Nevada mountain ranges.

Tidbits: The Clark's Nutcracker is indispensable to the propagation of the trees. The pulpy scales are easily probed by the birds. Seeds not eaten at the time of collection are stored in underground caches. This explains why many Whitebark Pines grow in clusters.


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