By Anjel Chavez
If you grew up in Minnesota, hopefully, you know that red pine (Pinus resinosa) is our beautiful state tree! If you didn’t, now you know! This awesome native tree has played a big role in the Minnesota logging industry because these straight-trunk growing evergreen conifers make a great hardwood that’s perfect for timber harvesting and are used for construction, millwork, and pulpwood. Red pine can grow up to 80 feet tall and has a distinct reddish-brown bark that becomes thick scaly plates as it matures. Cones are egg-shaped and roughly 2 inches tall, and have a nice light brown color to them. The thin, dark green needles of red pine grow in bundles of two and can be 4-6 inches long. Not sure if the tree you’re looking at is red pine? Grab a bundle of pine needles and bend them. If they have a nice clean break then it’s red pine!
Red pine prefers to grow on dry sandy soils, which are typical in northern Minnesota. It is also monoecious, meaning that both male and female flowers are found on the same tree. You can find red pine growing from Nova Scotia over to northern Minnesota, and as far south as Pennsylvania. Red pine can be grown in an urban landscape, although it is not used as widely due to its susceptibility to disease and pine bark beetle infestations. Another common name for red pine is Norway pine even though it did not originate from Norway at all. It is thought that it has gotten the name Norway pine from being founded near Norway, Maine, or from early settlers confusing it with Norway Spruce.
Little, E. L. National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Trees; Eastern Edition. (Original work published 1980)
Pinus resinosa (Red pine): Minnesota wildflowers. Retrieved September 28, 2020, from https://www.minnesotawildflowers.info/tree/red-pine
Red pine | the morton arboretum. Retrieved September 28, 2020, from https://www.mortonarb.org/trees-plants/tree-plant-descriptions/red-pine