Common Name(s): Ponderosa Pine

Scientific Name: Pinus ponderosa

Distribution: Western North America

Tree Size: 100-165 ft (30-50 m) tall, 2-4 ft (.6-1.2 m) trunk diameter

Average Dried Weight: 28 lbs/ft3 (450 kg/m3)

Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): .38, .45

Janka Hardness: 460 lbf (2,050 N)

Modulus of Rupture: 9,400 lbf/in2 (64.8 MPa)

Elastic Modulus: 1,290,000 lbf/in2 (8.90 GPa)

Crushing Strength: 5,320 lbf/in2 (36.7 MPa)

Shrinkage:Radial: 3.9%, Tangential: 6.2%, Volumetric: 9.7%, T/R Ratio: 1.6


Color/Appearance: Heartwood is reddish brown, sapwood is yellowish white.

Grain/Texture: Straight grained with medium texture.

Endgrain: Medium-large resin canals, numerous and evenly distributed, mostly solitary; earlywood to latewood transition fairly abrupt, color contrast can vary depending on growth ring spacing; tracheid diameter medium-large.

Rot Resistance: The heartwood is rated as moderate to low in decay resistance.

Workability: Ponderosa pine works well with both hand and machine tools. Glues and finishes well.

Odor: Ponderosa Pine has a faint, resinous odor while being worked.

Allergies/Toxicity: Working with pine has been reported to cause allergic skin reactions and/or asthma-like symptoms in some people. See the articles Wood Allergies and Toxicity and Wood Dust Safety for more information.

Pricing/Availability: Ponderosa Pine has a very wide distribution throughout western North America, and is one of the most important lumber species in the western United States. It should be widely available as construction lumber for a modest price. Some Ponderosa Pine is mixed with Lodgepole Pine and sold together as construction lumber under the stamp “PP/LP”.

Sustainability: This wood species is not listed in the CITES Appendices, and is reported by the IUCN as being a species of least concern.

Common Uses: Veneer, plywood, sheathing, subflooring, boxes, crates, posts/poles, interior trim, cabinetry, and construction lumber.

Comments: Although Ponderosa Pine is technically classified as a yellow (hard) pine, it shares many characteristics with white (soft) pines, having a considerably lower density than the yellow pine species found in the eastern United States. The city of Flagstaff, Arizona was named for a flagpole made of Ponderosa Pine that was used to raise a United States flag (then 37 stars) during a centennial ceremony on July 4, 1876.

Related Species:

  • Austrian Pine (Pinus nigra)
  • Caribbean Pine (Pinus caribaea)
  • Eastern White Pine (Pinus strobus)
  • Jack Pine (Pinus banksiana)
  • Jeffrey Pine (Pinus jeffreyi)
  • Khasi Pine (Pinus kesiya)
  • Limber Pine (Pinus flexilis)
  • Loblolly Pine (Pinus taeda)
  • Lodgepole Pine (Pinus contorta)
  • Longleaf Pine (Pinus palustris)
  • Maritime Pine (Pinus pinaster)
  • Ocote Pine (Pinus oocarpa)
  • Patula Pine (Pinus patula)
  • Pinyon Pine (Pinus edulis)
  • Pitch Pine (Pinus rigida)
  • Pond Pine (Pinus serotina)
  • Radiata Pine (Pinus radiata)
  • Red Pine (Pinus resinosa)
  • Sand Pine (Pinus clausa)
  • Scots Pine (Pinus sylvestris)
  • Shortleaf Pine (Pinus echinata)
  • Slash Pine (Pinus elliottii)
  • Spruce Pine (Pinus glabra)
  • Sugar Pine (Pinus lambertiana)
  • Sumatran Pine (Pinus merkusii)
  • Table Mountain Pine (Pinus pungens)
  • Western White Pine (Pinus monticola)
  • Virginia Pine (Pinus virginiana)

Related Articles:

  • Pine Wood: An Overall Guide


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