The sugar pine tree is native to the mountain region of the Pacific Coast. It can be found from Oregon to Baja, California. It is also called the sugar cone pine tree. This species of pine is the largest of all species of pine trees. They grow to a height of 200 feet. The sugar pine tree is a member of the white pine tree family. They also have the longest cones of any conifer. The seeds of this tree are called pine nuts and they are edible. These trees are affected by the white pine blister rust, a fungus that attacks the tree. This fungus has killed many of the sugar pine trees. In California, these trees are known to survive in great numbers because the fungus is not common there.
The sugar pine tree produces a sweet resinous substance. This is how the tree got it’s name. The resinous substance is found in the bark and the wood. This sap is similar to the sap of the maple tree. The sugar pine tree can live longer than any other species of pine. They can live up to 500 years. These trees have long, horizontal branches that are narrow and forms a flat-topped crown. The needles are silver-lined bluish green. The bark of the sugar pine tree is very thick with loose reddish brown scales. The cones of the tree can grow to two feet long. They are considered as the longest cones in the world. Beetles, woodpeckers and squirrels feed on the sugar pine cones.
In the months of July and August, the cones begin to develop. From May to early August, pollination occurs. These trees grow in a variety of temperatures. They also thrive in a wide range of soil conditions like well drained and slightly acidic. The sugar pine is highly valued for it’s timber because of the quality of the even grained wood. Native Americans once used the seeds and bark for food. They used the roots and the pitch for making baskets, glue and gum. The sap was used for food and as a laxative. Many techniques are being developed in order to reduce the disease that these trees suffer from. The sugar pine tree has a long history and has even been used in herbal medicine for treatment of ailments and illnesses. Over 80% of the sugar pine trees can be found growing in California.