Jack Pine

Tree in Baxter State Park, Maine. About 8 m tall [C.J. Earle, 2003.07]

Reference: Pinus Banksiana (Jack Pine) Description - The Gymnosperm Database. https://www.conifers.org/pi/Pinus_banksiana.php. Accessed 8 Aug. 2018.

Latin (group) name: Pinus
Latin (specific) name: Pinus Banksiana (Lambert)
Average max height: 25' to 70'
Average diameter: 8" to 24"
Associated state: none
Category: American Woods
The Softwoods - Conifers

The Tree

The Jack Pine is generally considered an inferior species. However, it is gradually growing into commercial importance as stands of the higher grade pines are depleted. New uses during war years also have brought it into prominence.Normally Jack Pine is a tree 25 to 70 feet high with trunk diameters of 8 to 24 inches. It grows rapidly but is comparatively short-lived,and in its growth range establishes itself very well after forest fires or heavy lumbering operations. It is thickly branched, and on young trees the branches remain on the stem almost to the ground, causing the wood to be very knotty. The bark is thin, with narrow shallow ridges, a scaly rough surface and a dull dark red-brown color. The needles grow in pairs, only about one inch long, and are narrow, flat, stubby, twisted, and sharply pointed, dark gray-green in color. The branchlets curve in horn-like fashion. The cones which are oblong-conical, curved, with thick scales, stand erect and close to the twig, are from one and a half to two inches long and one-half
to three quarters inch in diameter when closed; these cones ripen the second season but open unevenly, remain closed for several years and may remain on the tree for many years. The tree is easily identified by the numerous small crooked branches beginning close to the tree base, and by its twin. short, stiff and sharp needles and small curved cones clinging to the tough branches.

jack pine pincone
Jack Pine pinecone
jack pine pine bark
Jack Pine bark

Common Names in Use

  • Jack Pine(Mich., Minn., Wis., Ontario)
  • Gray Pine (Vt., Minn., Mich., trade)
  • Black Jack Pine (Wis.)
  • Hudson Bay Pine (trade)
  • Black Pine (Minn.)
  • “Juniper” (Canada)
  • Banksian Pine (lit.)
  • Northern Scrub Pine (lit.)
  • Canada Horncone
  • Pine (Calif., lit.)
  • Princess Pine (Ontario)
  • Check Pine
  • Cypress (Quebec and Hudson Bay)
  • Scrub Pine (Me., Vt., N.Y., Wis., Mich., Minn., Ontario)
  • Sir Joseph Banks Pine (Eng.)

Growth Range

The growth range of Jack Pine extends from Nova Scotia and Quebec to Mackenzie, throughout northern New England, northeastern New York and to the Lake States of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois and Indiana.

The Wood

Jack Pine wood is brittle but comparatively weak, light in weight, soft in texture and close-grained. The heartwood is a light brown-tan with a thick whitish sapwood. Its workability is similar to other pines.


It now has important commercial use as paper pulp. The numerous knots make it useful for “knotty pine" interior finishes. Increasing amounts of lumber are produced from Jack Pine. It resembles Red Pine, but is more knotty. This lumber is now used for boxes, crates, siding, rough construction and slack cooperage.



  • Shelley E. Schoonover (American Woods) 1951 (Watling & Co. ) Santa Monica, CA 

Contributors to this page: admin .
Page last modified on Saturday December 3, 2022 12:05:36 PST by admin.