Eastern White Pine (Pinus strobus) is a common tree with many gifts to share. Most people have heard of pine needle tea, and, indeed, chopped up needles can be steeped in hot water to make a vitamin-rich beverage. The tree's pine nuts are also edible, though they are much smaller than those of other species. During the summer months, the smooth bark of young trees can be removed and folded into watertight containers (bulk bark collection is typically lethal to the tree, so should not be done wantonly). Small sections of bark (from a branch) can also be used as a natural bandage (with the moist inner bark facing the wound), both to protect a wound and promote swift healing. Rootlets can also be dug and used as cordage for various tasks. More recently, foragers around the country are taking notice of pine pollen and marking their calendars so as not to miss the narrow collection window for this nutrient-dense superfood.
On top of all that, Eastern White Pine is easy to recognize, making it a perfect tree for beginners to befriend. The tree's needles grow five to a bundle, a characteristic not shared by any other native New England pine. The following photos depict various aspects of this common evergreen, including winter buds, male pollen cones, and both developing and mature female cones.