Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa)

Picture Notes: Even though I have found many of these majestic trees on my various hikes, these recent sightings, (Figs. 01 & 02) were taken on 10/03/2013 along the Fletcher Canyon Trail inside the Mt. Charleston Wilderness Area of the Toiyabe National Forest. The picture in (Fig. 03) was taken this past August while hiking a section of the Tahoe Rim Trail.
(Fig. 02)
Description:: The Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa), a.k.a. Pacific Ponderosa Pine, Bull Pine, Blackjack Pine, or western yellow pine, is a coniferous (cone-bearing) tree with long, round-like needles set in bundles of 3, 5-10 inches long. The bundles radiate in all directions around the twigs. Its cones are egg-shaped and about 5-7 inches long with scales tipped with a sharp spine. This tall, straight tree grows to average heights of 125 feet with diameters of 4 feet, though some have been recorded well over 225 feet in height. Based upon a tree found in Oregon, it actually holds the record as the tallest pine tree at a height of 268.29 feet. When mature it has a large spreading crown, yet is devoid of lower branches. Young trees have a dark brown bark, however when mature it bark is a beautiful orange to cinnamon-red bark with black crevices or irregular fissures forming plates. Native to western North America, in Nevada, the Ponderosa Pine is the dominant component of the upper mountain vegetation found in the Spring and Sheep mountain life zone. It is the official state tree of the State of Montana.
(Fig. 03)