The western white pine is found from southern Alaska to northern California. In the park it occurs occasionally up to 4,000 feet. It usually grows on level benches and gentle slopes associated with Douglas fir, western hemlock, and noble and amabilis fir. It reaches its best development at elevations of from 3,000 to 3,500 feet, where it attains a height of 150 feet and a diameter of 40 inches. The shaft is straight, cylindrical, and clear of limbs. It bears a small, narrow crown of drooping branches. In open areas, where it is exposed to sunlight, its mode of growth is wholly different. The trunk is short, rapidly tapering, and bears wide-spreading branches nearly to the ground. At high elevations the western white pine is very short and stunted.
Although the western white pine is not a common tree in the park, it is often noticed on account of its abundance of slender, pendant cones, 6 to 10 inches long. They mature every two years and shed their seed early in September. The seed are provided with long wings and often carried by the wind for a great distance from the parent tree.
The wood is light, soft, free from pitch, and the most valuable of any of the pinus of the Cascades. It is used for interior finish, pattern making, and other purposes. The supply of this tree is so limited that it is not of great commercial importance in the Mount Rainier region.
-from the Forests of Mount Rainier National Park-
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