White Pine Cone & Tassel
(Pinus strobus, linnaeus)
Adopted on February 1, 1895.
Maine designated the white pine
cone and tassel, Pinus strobus,
linnaeus, as its state flower. For
the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago,
States were asked to choose floral
emblems. Three candidates were
chosen. Two, the goldenrod and apple
blossom, were genuine flowers. The
third was the pine cone and tassel.
The pine cone won 10,000 of 17,000
votes. It was adopted as Maine's
state flower on February 1, 1895.
Botanically, these are not considered flowers since gymnosperms do not
have true flowers. The reproductive
structures of pines are known as
strobili. You could accurately state
the Maine is the only state to have
an official state strobilae.
The White pine is considered to
be the largest conifer in the
northeastern United States. Leaves
(needles) are soft, flexible and
bluish-green to silver green in
color and are regularly arranged in
bundles of five. Needles are 2 1/2-5
inches long and are usually shed at
the end of the second growing
season. Flowers (strobili) occur on
the tree. Cones are 4-8 inches in
length, usually slightly curved.
They take 2 years to mature and open
to discharge the seed shortly after
ripening in late August through
September of the second season. Cone
scales are thin and never have
prickles. Each scale usually bears
two winged seeds as do all native
pines. Cones also have a fragrant
More Tree Facts
darkening and thickening as tree
ages, smooth and gray on young
growth, becoming gray-brown,
deeply furrowed with broad
ridges of irregularly
rectangular, purple-tinged scaly
whorled, few and spreading, with
slightly upturned tips. In
closed stands, trunks are free
of branches over 2/3 of their
slender, flexible, pale
red-brown, with rusty hairs when
young; aging gray and smooth.
- Needles P.
strobus has slender needles in
clusters of 5 that grow up to 12
cm long. The outer surface of
the needles is gray-green, and
the inner surface is gray-white.
heavily resinous and sticky,
slender and thornless, 3"-10"
long and tapering; each scale
usually bears two winged seeds
as do all native pines.
widespreading and moderately
deep, without a distinct taproot
exceeding 400 years are
possible; commonly reaches 200
years of age and may exceed 450.
- Height of
mature trees in nature 80'-110';
largest eastern conifer.
Plantae -- Plants
Spermatophyta – Seed
Coniferophyta – Conifers
Pinaceae – Pine family
Pinus L. – pine
Pinus strobus L.
– eastern white pine