Jack pine (Pinus banksiana)

 jack-pine leaves

Click on the images help you identify an Jack pine.



Straight trunk; height 25' to 60'; diameter 8" to 20"; spreading, cone-shaped to irregular crown and scant or open foliage. Small dead branches often remain on trees for many years.


Dull red-brown; irregularly divided into small scales.


Needlelike, 3/4" to 1-1/2" long, stubby, flat, grayish green; two in a bundle and slightly twisted; remain on branchlets for about three years.

Fruit (seed)

Cones are about 1-1/2" long, often strongly curved, brown when ripe, turning gray later, sometimes remaining on branches unopened and containing good seeds for many years; small winged, triangular seeds can be carried far in strong winds. Many trees have ripe cones when seven years old.


Found in abundance in north-central and northeastern Minnesota; occurs generally in pure stands on poor, sandy soil; usually the first of the pines to spring up and occupy land following fire; hardy and thrives on soil too poor for white or red pine; very shade intolerant.

Wood uses

Light, soft, not strong, close-grained, clear pale brown with thick, nearly white sapwood; used for laths, box material, craft paper, firewood, and increasingly for lumber; used for windbreaks because of its hardiness.

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