Jack Pine - Pinus banksiana

This northern conifer has sharp needles in bundles of two with distinctly curved cones.  Jack pine can be distinguished from the non-native but widespread Scots Pine by the ‘V’ shape formed by the bundled needles – on Scots pine, the two needles are twisted together.  This serotinous conifer relies almost entirely on heat and fire for seed dispersal.  The cones are sealed shut with resin, and usually only open due to wildfire or sunshine on very hot days! Porcupines, white-tailed deer, and showshoe hares are among many animals that rely on jack pine for food.

Jack Pine Cone
Fire produces a new seedbed for jack pine forests by releasing seeds from the otherwise tightly closed, curved cones and helping to remove the competition! Photo by Chris Earley.

Jack Pine Needles
The short (2-4 cm), paired, ‘V’ shaped bundles of the jack pine. Photo by Chris Earley

Jack Pine Tree
Jack Pine form. Photo by Chris Earley.

Ontario Tree Atlas map of non-planted Jack Pine. 1995-1999.
Ontario Tree Atlas map of non-planted Jack Pine. 1995-1999.

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Farrar, J.L.. 1995. Trees in Canada. Fitzhenry & Whiteside Ltd. Toronto. ON. 504 pp.  

Kershaw, L. 2001. Trees in Ontario: Including tall shrubs. Lone Pine Publishing. Edmonton. AB. 240 pp

Muma, W. 2011. Ontario Trees and Shrubs. [Online] Available: www.ontariotrees.com

OMNR, 2011. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources: Ontario Tree Atlas. [Online] Available: http://www.mnr.gov.on.ca/en/Business/ClimateChange/2ColumnSubPage/267027.html

OMNR, 2008. Ontario’s Biodiversity: Species at Risk.