Western Pine Structure   Don Bertolette
  Dec 08, 2002 18:51 PST 

Re architectural differences of western pines, the ponderosa pine is most like the eastern deciduous tree, in that old-growth stands are likely to have rounded crown tops (perhaps genetic expression of mature expenditure of energies, perhaps a function of inclement weather conditions up there, often characterized by the gnarly stag-headed branching that often characterized OG species in NE). Jeffrey pines are insignificantly different from ponderosa (in fact they hybridize at their overlapping range extents). Sugar pines (could send some good image examples) tend to be ideal, with erect pointy tops. Now our western hemlocks present a challenge with a characteristic droopy leader (also shared by the relic Brewer's spruce), that I think varies some with temperature/relative humidity/moisture content. Although not often tall, the western juniper also characteristically has a rounded crown (don't have digital image, but wj's are probably my favorite tree for pure ancient appearance).