The Different Species of Pine Cones

Pine cones are produced by certain types of trees as a method of spreading seeds. The seeds are often contained within the layered body of the cones. Different types of trees produce varying cone types, ranging from tightly packed egg-shaped cones to more open cones that are less uniform in shape.

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Pine cones come in a range of shapes and sizes.

Incense Cedar

The incense cedar is a member of the cypress tree family and is found mainly on the west coast of the U.S. Its cones are not the typical shape, looking more like hard-petaled, upside-down flowers. They have long, bill-shaped sides and are light brown in color.

Douglas Fir

The Douglas fir is a mainly west coast pine tree that is second only to coastal redwoods in height, with some specimens growing over 300 feet tall. It produces dark brown, rounded cones that have several layers. They are easily recognizable for the small, three-pronged thin flaps at the top of each of the cone's sections.

Giant Sequoia

Giant sequoias, or coastal redwoods, are the largest trees in the world by mass. The tree is most commonly found on the west coast, around the Nevada Mountains, and northern California. A member of the cypress family, its cones are very dark in color and egg-shaped with irregular, rough layers.

Western Hemlock

The western hemlock is a species of pine tree found in the Pacific northwest and some areas of the Rocky Mountains. It produces small cones which are not tightly packed like most species. Their dark brown layers are open and each shaped like a rounded leaf.

White Pine

The white pine is the east coast's tallest growing tree and is closely related to the world's tallest pine tree variety, the sugar pine. It produces vary large, egg-shaped cones, some of which can grow up to 2 feet in length. Because the cones are so large, their small layers, although widely spread, make them appear more rounded.