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The White Bark Pine P


P. albicaulis, Engelm.

The white-bark pine is a rippled, gnarled, squatting tree, whose matted branches, cumbered with needles and snow, make a platform on which the hardy mountain climber may walk with safety in midwinter. It offers him a springy mattress for his bed, as well. The trunk is covered with snowy bark that glistens like the ice mantle that lies on the treeless mountain-side just above the timber line.

From a twelve-thousand-foot elevation on the Rocky Mountains, in British Columbia and south to the Yellow stone, the tree clambers down to the five-thousand-foot line, where it sometimes attains forty feet in height; its dark green, rigid leaves persist from five to eight years, always five in a bundle, and never more than two and a half inches long. The cones, horny-tipped, dark purple,

one to three inches long, are ripe in August; the large sweet seeds are gathered and eaten by Indians. In California the tree's range extends into the San Bernardino Mountains.