Needles: Like Ponderosa Pine, it has 3 needles per bundle. Jeffrey Pine needles typically grow farther along the twig, while Ponderosa Pine needles are bunched at the end.
Cones: The cones are 6 to 10 inches long and have a sharp prickle on each scale. Although Jeffrey cones are often described as less prickley than ponderosa cones, the difference is a subtle one. Cone size is the best way to distinguish Jeffrey Pine from Ponderosa Pine, which has smaller 3 to 6 inch cones. The prickles do tend to point out more on Ponderosa cones, but this doesn't mean you won't feel any pain when you pick up a Jeffrey cone. Also, the Jeffrey prickles are long and narrow compared to those of Ponderosa Pine.
Bark: The bark looks similar to Ponderosa Pine with flat plates shaped like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. But Jeffrey Pine bark is brown. The bark is variously described as smelling like vanilla, lemon, or pineapple.
Where it grows: Southwest Oregon and throughout the Sierra Nevada of California up to the timberline.
Uses: Similar to Ponderosa Pine.
Names: Named after Scottish botanist John Jeffrey. Other common names: Western Yellow Pine, Bull Pine.
© 2012 Ken Denniston