The majestic western white pine (Pinus Monticola pinaceae) was designated the official state tree of Idaho in 1935. The largest and best western white pine forests can be found in northern Idaho in the Coeur d’Alene and Bitterroot Mountains (the tree is often called the soft Idaho white pine or just the Idaho white pine).
Western White Pine Facts
The western white pine tree grows in the mountains of the western United States and Canada (in the Sierra Nevada, the Cascade Range, the Coast Range, and the northern Rocky Mountains), extending down to sea level in many areas. Western white pine wood is soft, straight-grained, and evenly textured (used to make everything from houses to wooden matches).
Photo of western white pine tree by Jami Dwyer on Flickr (use permitted with attribution / share alike). See All State Trees.
Western white pine is a large tree, growing 30-50 meters (and sometimes up to 70 meters) tall. It is related to eastern white pine (Pinus strobus), but western white pine cones are larger, and it also has slightly longer-lasting leaves (needles) than the eastern white pine.
The western white pine is widely grown as an ornamental tree, but has been heavily logged throughout much of its range and has also been seriously affected by white pine blister rust (a fungus that was introduced from Europe in 1909). The U.S. Forest Service has a program for locating and breeding rust-resistant western white pine and sugar pine (seedlings of these trees have been introduced into the wild).