The eastern white pine, (Pinaceae Pinus strobus), is also known as “soft pine.” It was called the Tree of Peace by the Iroquois and in Ojibway, Zhingwaak. Mature white pines can easily live 200+ years of age, with some Michigan trees that have approached 500 years in age. The eastern white pine has the distinction of being the tallest tree in eastern North America, and pre-colonial stands were reported over 200ft in height.
It was said that when settlers arrived, a squirrel could travel in the forest canopy from one side of the state to the other. With this amazing resource, Michigan led the nation in lumber production in the 1880s and 1890s, and by the early 1900s, over 100 million of Michigan pine trees worth more than all the gold mined in California had been felled in the Lower Peninsula. Most of that value was in white pine, an when the forest was depleted, timber companies moved to the UP.
Some say Chicago was rebuilt after Mrs. Leary’s cow kicked over a lantern and started the Great Fire with Michigan white pine after
Public Act 7 of 1955 designated the white pine as Michigan state tree effective Oct. 14, 1955.
If you want to see some remainders of Michigan’s old growth pine forest, consider a visit to Harwick Pines State Park near Grayling. The park features a 49-acre forest and extensive lumbering exhibits – a definite treat!
Michigan Compiled Laws
The law designating the white pineas the official Michigan state tree is found in the Michigan Compiled Laws Chapter 2 (STATE) Act 7 of 1955 Statute.
Act 7 of 1955
AN ACT to adopt the white pine (Pinus strobus, L.) as the official state tree for the state of Michigan.
The People of the State of Michigan enact:
2.31 State tree.
Sec. 1. The white pine (Pinus strobus, L.) is hereby adopted as the official state tree for the state of
History: 1955, Act 7, Eff. Oct. 14, 1955.