The ponderosa pine generally grows to between 116 and 165 ft high (35 and 50 m high), and lives to about 200 years old.
Because of its beautiful foliage, it is valued as an ornamental. Its needles are in bundles of three, and very long, from 4.8 to 10 inches (12 to 25 centimetres). When crushed, a pleasant odour of mandarine is released by the needles.
The ponderosa pine is found inland in southwestern British Columbia down to the northern part of Central America. It occurs on a wide variety of soils, especially in areas subject to frequent forest fires.
The ponderosa pine primarily grows in pure open stands, yet it can be found mixed with Douglas-fir and western larch.
In many ways, it serves as nature's cupboard: its seeds provide food for birds and small mammals; and its leaves and twigs are browsed by larger mammals. In addition, it is used for landscaping purposes, and for window sashes and frames, door mouldings, siding and much more. It is also used in carpentry.
Needles, very long (from 4.8 to 10 in or 12 to 25 cm) in bundles of three.
Fruits, cones, 2.8 to 6 in long, or 7 to 15 cm long, with thickened scales at the tip, bearing rigid sharp prickles.