PEI Trees

Coniferous Trees

The Pines

White Pine

  • tallest native conifer in P.E.I.; 30m high and 60-100cm around
  • have long, soft, flexible needles
  • needles are in bundles of five; have lines of white dots on them
  • cones hang and are often covered in sap
  • grow best in full sunlight, and moist, sandy soil
  • used for lumber, cabinet work and decorative purposes
  • Song birds eat white pines seeds; squirrels, chipmunks and mice will snack on the needles
  • preferred nesting sites for bald eagles
  • White Pine Weevil is a beetle that causes extensive damage
  • healthly White Pine can live up to 200 years

White Pine needles, bunches of 5

Red Pine 

  • have a distinct reddish bark, that is furrowed into flat, scaly plates
  • can grow up to 25m high and 30-60cm round
  • grow best on sandy plain or in areas with low soil fertility
  • needles of the Red Pine grow 10cm to 17cm long and in bundles of two
  • shiny, pointed and will break when they are bent
  • often used for poles and pilings
  • provide good cover and nesting sites for animals
  • mice and squirrels eat red pine seeds

Jack Pine

  • only found in small scattered patches in P.E.I.
  • often stunted in growth
  • reach height 20m, but 12m high is common here
  • trees are well resistance to pests
  • can live 80 to 150 years
  • grow in shallow soils, course sand and even permafrost
  • pine cones can stay closed and on the tree for 10 to 20 years
  • squirrels, chipmunks and mice will eat the seeds
  • provide cover, food and a nesting area for birds

The Spruces

Black Spruce

  • branches usually touch the ground
  • main branches are short when compared to the branches of white and red spruce
  • needles are straight, blunt-pointed and dull; appear bluish green
  • upper needles point forward, while the side needles point out at right angles
  • needles will grow 8 - 15mm long and have white dots on the underside
  • grow up to 15m high and 15-30cm round
  • can live for 50 - 200 years
  • can hybridize with red spruce making the two hard to distinguish
  • preferred for paper making
  • seeds are eaten by squirrels, chipmunks, voles, shrews, mice, chickadees, crossbills and other animals

Red Spruce

  • reddish-brown bark shed from the tree when they are young
  • bark separates into reddish-black scales with age
  • have a large, broad crown with branches growing at right-angles
  • bark and twigs are lighter than that of black spruce
  • have small dull gray cones
  • needles of a red spruce are shiny yellowish-green, curved and pressed close to the twig
  • 1.5- 2cm long with faint white dots on all sides
  • grow up to 25m high and 30-60cm in diametre
  • may live 100-200 years
  • high tolerance for shade
  • crossbills, pine siskins and other songbirds eat red spruce cones and will nest in these trees

White Spruce

  • aka Cat Spruce or Skunk Spruce due to the distinct smell their needles give off when crushed
  • 2cm long needles; straight, stiff with pointed tips and are bright green in colour
  • grow to 25m in height and 60cm in diametre
  • live 60 - 200 years in moderate shade
  • provide a good nesting site and food for birds, as well as small mammals
  • wood is often used for pulp, lumber and sounding boards in instruments

Flat Needled Conifers

Eastern Hemlock

  • only native hemlock trees in Eastern Canada
  • have a graceful, dense crown with droopy branches
  • wood is weak, brittle, splits easily, full of knots and sparks when burning
  • needles: flat, dark green with a white underside; grow 10-20mm long; have blunt, rounded or notched tips
  • average lifespan is over 300 years; some individuals have reached 1000 years of age
  • average height is 20m with a 60-120m diametre
  • grow well in highly shaded areas
  • seeds are eaten by birds; raccoon will nest in the larger trees

Balsam Fir

  • most commonly used for Christmas trees
    • bell-shape, dark green colour, nice fragrance
    • needles that remain on the tree for awhile, after being cut
  • only native fir in Eastern Canada
  • As the tree ages brown scales appear in the firs grayish, smooth bark
  • wood is light, soft and weak
    • often used for wood pulp and lumber
  • adapt well to different soils and climates, although they prefer wetter areas
  • needles: dark green, flat, soft and shines
  • cones stand upright
  • trees reach heights of 20m and 30-60cm round
  • lifespan is 40-80 years
  • vulnerable to many different diseases
  • Squirrels will snack on the flower buds
  • Needles, tips and buds are also used as food

The Odd-balls

Eastern Larch

  • also known as Tamarack
  • the only native larch in eastern North America
  • only PEI needled tree that loses it needles in the fall
    • deciduous, coniferous trees
  • grow in poorly drained sites reaching heights of 20m and 30-60cm round
  • grow best in sunlight
  • have four-sided bluish, green needles that turn gold in the fall
  • may live for 60-120 years
  • provide food for small mammals and birds
  • wood is durable; it is used for posts, poles and boat building

Eastern White Cedar

  • have dark yellow-green scale like needles and a distinct smell
  • 4 - 6mm long needles overlap in pairs and are pressed closely to the twig
  • grow up to 18m and 30-45cm round
  • can live 100-200 years in moderate shade
  • provide food for birds, such as pine siskins, grosbeaks and crossbills
  • Aboriginal people taught European explorer, Jacques Cartier,  to use boiled cedar needles, which are full of vitamin C,  to treat scurvy

Back to Kid Zone.