White Mountains Online

Trees ~ General Information


Arizona's White Mountains

Ponderosa pine is the most common coniferous tree on the Lakeside Ranger District. It has a wood cone, needles in fascicles of three, and a deeply fissured, yellow bark on mature trees.

The Englemann spruce is found on cool, moist sites and has cones with thin, papery-like scales. The needles are single, 4-angles, and stiff to the touch. The bark is cinnamon-red to purple-brown and broken into large thin loosely attached plates. Because of the resonant qualities of Englemann spruce, it is valuable for piano sounding boards and violins.

The genus name for Douglas fir is Pseudotsuga, which means false hemlock. Of all trees in the United States, it ranks first in total volume of timber. Its needles are single, fairly flat, and softer to the touch than Englemann spruce. The cones have thin scales with a 3-lobed bract extending from each scale. At maturity the bark is very thick with red-brown ridges and deep furrows.

The White Fir is blue-green with single, flat, needles up to 3 inches long. The cones have broad scales and the tips are often curved under. At maturity, the bark is gray with deep furrows and wide ridges.

One differentiating feature between spruce and fir is that spruce cones always hand down while fir cones point skyward. The exception to this rule is the Douglas Fir, which is not a true fir; their cones hand down.

The Pinyon Pine grows at lower elevations on the District and has 2 needles per fascicle. The cone is relatively small with woody scales. The nuts are edible.

The Gambel Oak is a deciduous tree frequently found growing with ponderosa pine on the District. It has dark green leaves with up to nine rounded lobes and gray furrowed bark with narrow ridges. Its fruit is the famous acorn.

Occasionally found on the District where cooler, moister conditions exist is the quaking Aspen, a member of the poplar family. It has leaves that are rounded at the base and come to a point at the tip. The bark is white and smooth. The wood of the aspen tree is valuable for making shake singles and excelsior for cooler pads.

Miscellaneous Information

The largest ponderosa pine in the area is at Lons Spring and measures 48.9" DBH (diameter breast height) and 100 feet tall!

The average age of mature trees: 150~200 years old!

Tallest Douglas fir measures 140 feet!

Alligator juniper can reach up to 800 years old with 5-6 foot girths!

Gambel oak can reach up to 60 feet tall with 4 foot girths!

For more information, please feel free to contact the
USDA Forest Service, Lakeside Ranger District at 520.368.5111
or you may write us at 2022 W. White Mtn. Blvd.,
Pinetop-Lakeside, Arizona 85935

e sure to check with the Lakeside Ranger Station for current information on gathering permits or fees that may be required.

White Mountains Online wishes to express our appreciation to the USDA Forest Service, Lakeside District for providing this information!

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