Trees of North America- A guide to field identification-a Golden Field Guide from St. Martin's Press © 2002 By C. Frank Brockman p.26

FM- 21-76 US Army Survival Manual- 14th printing. Headquarters, Dept. Of the Army. 1999 Dorset Press, New York. New material ©1991 by Platinum Press, p. C-54

The Encyclopedia of North American Trees by Sam Benvie. Firefly Books Ltd.,2000 Buffalo, NY © 2000 Sam Benvie p.186
Map courtesy USDA NRCS PLANTS Database
Washoe Pine,
Pinus ponderosa Lawson & C. Lawson var. washoensis (H. Mason & Stockw.) J.R. Haller & Vivrette                                  
Pinus ponderosa C. Lawson ssp. Washoensis (H. Mason &stockw.) A.E.

Pinus washoensis H. Mason & Stockw.

State List: CA, NV, OR

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Common names: Yellow Pine
Home>Families>Pinaceae> Pine (Pinus)>Washoe Pine (Pinus ponderosa var. washoensis)
The Washoe pine tree is a rare native conifer found only in California, Oregon and Nevada. It looks similar to Jeffrey and Ponderosa pine, and has recently been reclassified as a Ponderosa pine variation.  Pinus ponderosa var. washoensis is a large tree, reaching 5 feet in diameter and 130 feet in height.  It is also a long lived tree, often found to be over 250 years old.  The oldest recorded tree is 300 years old and is located on Mount Rose in Nevada.  Typically single stemmed, Washoe pine can have a
conical, columnar or flat topped irregular crown.  Like Ponderosa and Jeffrey Pines, the twigs are reddish orange to grayish, while the trunk has dark brown to black fissures and reddish orange irregular plates.  The stout needles are dark green, 4 to 6 inches long and are borne in bundles of 3. The 2 to 3.2 inch long female cones are light brown, have prickles on each scale, and are ovoid when closed but conical when open.  The light brown seeds are typical of pine trees in that they are small and with a single wing.


Most often, Pinus washoensis grows in pure stands but is also found individually.  The report by U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service in the Fire Effects Information System states it prefers eastern or northern slopes but another source states this native tree species prefers west and south facing slopes.  It is common on ridgetops and areas with well draining soil and generally grows between 5,500 and 8,000 feet in elevation. There is, however, an isolated population in British Columbia at 4,800 feet.  Soil needs are moist to dry with best grown attained on sandy or clayey loams.
Photo citation: Gary A. Moore @ USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

Washoe pine is used in watershed management and its preference for sloping sites make it helpful in erosion control.  Like all pines, the seeds and inner bark are edible.  The inner bark is high in sugar and vitamins and may be chewed.  Small twigs may also be eaten after the bark is peeled away; additionally, in the spring, male cones may be collected then boiled or baked for eating.  The resin can be collected and used while hot to waterproof items or as a glue when mixed with ashes.  Also as with all pine trees, turpentine can be distilled from the resin. Turpentine has been used in times past to treatment of a variety of ailments.  Respiratory complaints like coughing, bronchitis, common colds, and influenza were eased by steam baths and inhalers.  Skin problems, wounds and sores were also treated with poultices and salves. In the late 1800's, it was even used to treat tuberculosis.  On a side note, Jeffrey pines are the only pine trees that should not be used in the production of turpentine, as the resin contains almost pure heptane and is highly volitile and explosive.
Pinus washoensis is native only to California, Nevada and Oregon
USDA, NRCS. 2011. The PLANTS Database (<>, 22 August 2011). National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901

Esser, Lora L. 1993. Pinus washoensis.  In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: [2011, August 22].
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