red pine - Pinus resinosa
Common Name: red pine
Hardiness Zone: 2 to 5
Height: 50 to 80 ft
Width: 20 to 25 ft
Description: This tall, straight conifer is the state tree of Minnesota. It's a common sight throughout the state, growing both naturally and in plantation settings. It is commonly referred to as Norway pine, though this title carries incorrect implications as it did not originate in Norway. One story behind the title is that early settlers mistook it for Norway spruce, another is that it was grown at high rates near the town of Norway, ME. Whatever the reason may be, Norway pine and red pine have become synonymous as the common name of pinus resinosa.
Red pine is one of the tallest trees in Minnesota, reaching over 125 feet tall in extreme cases. It is quite common to see it growing in typical plantation formation: straight, linear rows with even spacing between individuals. It's one of the most heavily used timber species in Minnesota, but this should not imply that this is the sole benefit that it provides. It's an important component of several forest ecosystems in Minnesota, particularly in the Northern regions. Red pine grows well on nutrient-poor, sandy soils that cannot support the needs of most species. Though it isn't necessarily known as a critical wildlife species, it provides nesting sites for eagles and other birds, shelter for mammals, and habitat for mid-successional understory vegetation that provides valuable wildlife browse.
To identify red pine, look for needles clumped in pairs of two, conical buds, and red-plated bark. The only species grown in Minnesota that should be confused with red pine may be Austrian pine. To test between the two, you can bend the needles to the breaking point. If the needles snap, they belong to red pine. If they bend without snapping, they belong to Austrian pine.
Dirr, Michael A. (1975). Manual of Woody Landscape Plants. Champange, Illinois: Stipes Publishing L.L.C..
Pinus resinosa. Missouri Botanical Garden. http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?taxonid=285002&isprofile=0&. Accessed 01 June 2018.
Pinus resinosa (red pine). Minnesota Wildflowers. https://www.minnesotawildflowers.info/tree/red-pine. Accessed 01 June 2018.