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A tree 70 to sometimes well over 200 ft high, and with a trunk 3 to 8 ft in diameter; young shoots minutely downy; winter-buds 1⁄4 in. long, usually round or blunt at the apex, the scales closely flattened. Leaves in fives, falling the third year, 3 to 41⁄2 in. long, minutely toothed at the margins, bluish green, often spirally twisted; leaf-sheaths 1⁄2 to 5⁄8 in. long, soon falling completely away. Cones borne at the ends of the uppermost branches, 12 to 20 in. long, about 3 in. thick before expanding, the woody scales 2 to 21⁄2 in. long, with a broadly pointed apex. Seeds 1⁄2 to 3⁄4 in. long, nutty in flavour, the wing nearly twice as long.
Native of western N. America, in Oregon and California; introduced in 1827 by Douglas, who had also discovered it. It is probably the noblest of all pines. The popular name refers to a sugary exudation from the trunk. In this country it has rarely borne its remarkable cones. It is allied to, as well as a neighbour of, P. monticola, but besides the differences in cones, the buds are more rounded and the leaf is more sharply pointed in P. lambertiana. From P. strobus its uniformly downy shoots distinguish it. It likes a sheltered situation and a good loamy soil. Even then it grows but slowly, yet is handsome nevertheless. Unfortunately, P. lambertiana is susceptible to the white pine blister-rust (see P. strobus), and all the old specimens in Britain are dead. A tree at Dropmore, Bucks, planted in 1843, measured 95 × 11 ft when it died in 1950.
specimens: Hawkstone Park, Shrops., a coning tree, 95 × 10 ft (1984); Tannadyce, Angus, 40 × 21⁄4 ft (1981).