Eastern white pine

Needles of Eastern white pine.

The Eastern white pine is a tree for landscapes with ample space. Its fine feathery needles, open canopy, and straight trunk get more picturesque with age. Trees are fast-growing and long-lived. 

This species is native to the Chicago region according to Swink and Wilhelm's Plants of the Chicago Region, with updates made according to current research.

This plant has some cultivated varieties. Go to list of cultivars.

Botanical name:

Pinus strobus

All Common Names:

Eastern white pine, white pine

Family (English):


Family (Botanic):


Tree or Plant Type:

  • Tree


  • Evergreen (foliage year-round)

Native Locale:

  • Chicago area,
  • Illinois,
  • North America

Planting Site:

  • Residential and parks

Landscape Uses:

  • Screen,
  • Shade tree,
  • Specimen

Size Range:

  • Large tree (more than 40 feet)

Mature Height:

50-80 feet

Mature Width:

20-40 feet

Light Exposure:

  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily),
  • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)

Hardiness Zones:

  • Zone 3,
  • Zone 4,
  • Zone 5 (Chicago),
  • Zone 6,
  • Zone 7

Soil Preference:

  • Acid soil,
  • Moist, well-drained soil

Acid Soils:

  • Prefers

Alkaline Soils:

  • Moderately Tolerant

Salt Spray:

  • Intolerant

Soil Salt:

  • Intolerant

Drought Conditions:

  • Intolerant

Poor Drainage:

  • Moderately Tolerant

Planting Considerations:

  • Intolerant of pollution

Ornamental Interest:

  • Edible fruit

Season of Interest:

  • Early winter,
  • Mid winter,
  • Late winter,
  • Early spring,
  • Mid spring,
  • Late spring,
  • Early summer,
  • Mid summer,
  • Late summer,
  • Early fall,
  • Mid fall,
  • Late fall

Flower Color & Fragrance:

  • Inconspicuous

Shape or Form:

  • Broad,
  • Irregular,
  • Pyramidal

Growth Rate:

  • Moderate,
  • Fast

Transplants Well:

  • Yes


  • Browsers,
  • Game birds,
  • Moths,
  • Small mammals,
  • Songbirds

More Information:

Tree & Plant Care

Prefers moist, well-drained, slightly acidic soil in sun, although young trees tolerate light shade.
Avoid planting in open, windy sites.
cold tolerant.

Disease, pests, and problems

Susceptible to chlorosis symptoms in high pH soils.
Sensitive to salt and air pollution.
Intolerant of wet or heavy clay soils.

Native geographic location and habitat

C-Value: 9
Native to Eastern U.S., Newfoundland to Georgia

Bark color and texture

Mature bark is dark grayish-brown with broad ridges and deep furrows.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, texture, and color

Evergreen eedles arranged in clusters of 5; densely crowded near the ends of horizontal branches.
Thin, soft,  3 to 6 inches long, medium green. Needles remain on the tree for two to three years before dropping in the fall.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Male pollen cones are in whorled clusters at the tips of branches. Female flowers are yellow and in pairs near male flower cones.

Eastern white pine (Pinus strobus)
Eastern white pine (Pinus strobus)
photo: John Hagstrom
Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

Long and slender, up tp 8 inches, cylindrical brown cones with obvious white resin tips.
Cones remain on the tree for 2 years.

Cultivars and their differences

“These plants are cultivars of a species that is native to the Chicago Region according to Swink and Wilhelm's Plants of the Chicago Region, with updates made according to current research. Cultivars are plants produced in cultivation by selective breeding or via vegetative propagation from wild plants identified to have desirable traits."

Blue Shag Eastern white pine (Pinus strobus 'Blue Shag'): A dwarf variety growing only 2 to 3 feet high.

Dwarf Eastern white pine (Pinus strobus 'Nana' ):  A compact or dwarf cultivar, 3-5 feet wide and tall.

Fastigiate Eastern white pine (Pinus strobus ‘Fastigiata’ ):  This narrow, upright cultivar grows 30-50 feet tall and 10-20 feet wide.

Weeping Eastern white pine (Pinus strobus ‘Pendula’ ):   Typically 15 to 20 feet high and 12 to 15 foot wide. Blue green needles cascade from twisting, weeping branches.  This weeping form may require some training to produce a leader that will affect the ultimate height and spread of the plant.


Location of Pinus strobus (Eastern white pine) at the Arboretum