All softwoods produce cones, the scales of which each contain a single precious seed. In order to germinate, the seed must be released by its scale and reach the ground. Some cones burst due to frost and their seeds spread. As birds, and even red squirrels, feed on cones, they drop some of the seeds, which may fall on the ground and germinate. The wind blows other cones off the tree. Still other cones lay under ground, buried by rodents who have forgotten where they hid their caches.
This is the story for all conifers, except the jack pine. Its cones are locked in a thick coating of wax that only intense heat--at least 122°F (50°C)--can melt. That's why we call the jack pine a child of fire.
The jack pine rarely reaches 66 feet (20 metres) in height and 20 inches (50 centimetres) in diameter, so that it's fairly short and slender. Its strong, regular wood is used for lumber and pulpwood.
Needles, in bundles of two, from 0.8 to 1.6 inches long (2 to 4 cm long).
Fruits, cone curved inward, persistent on the tree for many years.
Fruits, berry-like bluish cones.