Pinus lambertiana Doug.

A large tree with erect, tapering growth, the largest of all pines, leaves in fives, to 10cm long, stiff and crooked with white lines on the back, cones cylindrical and tapering, very large, to 50cm long.  To 75m tall.  [RHSD, Hortus, Hilliers’].

Horticultural & Botanical History

Introduced to Britain in 1827 [JD].  A sweet exudation from the heartwood has in the past been used as a sugar.  [Hilliers’].  ‘Pinus Lambertiana belongs to the Strobus or Weymouth Pine section of the five-leaved Pinuses, and which contains, besides the subject of our present notice, P. excelsa, from the Himalayas, P. ayacahuite, monticola, and the Weymouth Pine, from North America.  They are noticeable for having silvery grey leaves, rather drooping, and for their rapidity of growth and large size.  [Florist and Fruitist p.298/1856].

‘Understanding upon my return from North-west America, that considerable interest has been excited by reports of a new species of Pinus of gigantic size having been discovered by me in Northern California, I beg permission through you to lay a short account of it before the Linnean Society.

This plant covers large districts about a hundred miles from the ocean, in latitude 43 deg. North, and extends as far to the South as 40 deg.  It first came under my notice in August 1825, while at the headwaters of the Multnomah River.  In October 1826 it was my good fortune to meet with it beyond a range of mountains running in a south-western direction from the Rocky Mountains towards the sea, and terminating at Cape Orford of Vancouver.  It grows sparingly upon low hills, and the undulating country east of the range of mountains just mentioned, where the soil consists entirely of pure sand, in appearance incapable of supporting vegetation.  Here it attains its greatest size, and perfects its fruit in most abundance.  The trees do not form dense forests as most of the other Pines which clothe the face of North-west America, but like Pinus resinosa, which grows among them, they are scattered singly over the plains, and may be considered to form a sort of connecting link between the gloomy forests of the north and the more tropical-like verdure of California.’  [Transactions of the Linnean Society of London vol.IX, p.498/1827].

History at Camden Park

Pinus lambertiana was included in a consignment of plants sent from Kew by John Bidwill in November 1843 [AJCP].  Although it is very likely that these plants were sent to Camden to the care of William Macarthur there is no other evidence of its being grown there.


Published Aug 12, 2009 - 04:24 PM | Last updated Jul 29, 2010 - 03:25 PM

More details about Pinus lambertiana Doug.
Family Pinaceae
Region of origin

Western North America

Common Name

Sugar pine, Gigantic pine, Lambert?s pine

Name in the Camden Park Record

Pinus lambertiana Doug.

Confidence level high