The state of Maine is the only state to select a state floral emblem that actually isn’t a flower at all! In 1895, the White Pine Cone and Tassell were selected to represent the state. Maine is affectionately nicknamed “the Pine Tree state” and the white pine plays a particularly important role in the lumber industry that has long been so important to its inhabitants. The residents of the state voted from three candidates for their state’s selection and White Pine won out over Apple Blossom and Goldenrod.
Pine trees do not produce true flowers. They are a type of plant called gymnosperm, which means producing seeds without flowers. The White Pine has both male and female cones. The male trees produce pollen and males cones appear first, only to drop away shortly after pollination. Female cones take two years to mature and drop in their second season, usually ripening in late August – September. White Pine is the largest conifer in the Northeastern region of the US and can live up to 450 years with most trees reaching at least 200 years of age. They reach a height of 80-110 feet when mature. The flexible and soft needles of the White Pine are blueish-green to silver-green and grow in bundles of five. Once mature, they have dark thick bark and a deep root base, making them somewhat fire-resistant. Younger trees are not resistant as their bark is lighter and thinner.