The ponderosa pine is fairly easy to identify. The orange-hued checked bark is well known to westerners.
What might not be as well known though is that these native trees can grow to sizes rivaling giant redwoods.
Near Grants Pass, in the southwestern part of Oregon, the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest is home to the tallest known specimen and was recently measured to be nearly as high as a 30 story building.
The tree named “Phalanx” was climbed and measured by tape in October by Portland arborist Will Koomjian. At 268.3 feet it’s the world’s tallest pine tree of any species.
Located on the Wild Rivers Ranger District, Phalanx is surrounded by a number of other ponderosas over 250 feet in height.
”This is an exciting find,” says Wild Rivers District Ranger Roy Bergstrom. “To have this unique grove of record sized ponderosa pine adds to the botanical wonderment of the Siskiyou mountains.”
Another national forest in Oregon, the Umpqua, is also home to a record-breaker; the tallest know sugar pine, which tops out at 255 feet.