At least a half-dozen of the more than ninety species of pine (Pinus) world-wide can be found in Central New York landscapes. They range in size from the most dwarf of the mugo pines (e.g., Pinus mugho `Gnom' and `Mops') to our towering, native white pine (P. strobus), at right!
While tips for identifying the specific species of pine found growing in Central New York landscapes will be addressed in the future, as a group (genus) they’re very easy to distinguish from other conifers.
First, they're the only conifer that has needles "bundled" together in groups of two (mugo, Scotch and Austrian pines), occasionally three, or five (white pine), at left.
They’re also the only conifers that set buds only at the very tips of the current season's growth when it finishes elongating between mid-July and mid-August. This trait results in the development of distinct "whorls" of branches that mark the extent of each year's growth.