Pinaceae : Pine Family

Pinaceae Taxonomy

Scientific Name:

Kingdom: Plantae


Class: Coniferae (cone bearing)

Family: Pinaceae (Pine Family)

Genera: 4

Species: 5

Abies lasiocarpa (Sub-alpine Fir)

Larix laricina (Larch, Tamarack)

Picea glauca (White Spruce)

Picea mariana (Black Spruce)

Pinus contorta (Lodgepole Pine)

English Name(s):

Pine Family

(Lat. pinus= raft or boat. Wood used in boat building)

Gwich'in Name:

Pinaceae Traits


  • Trees
  • Resignous having sticky oily sap.
  • Leaves needle-like
  • Mostly evergreen with exception of genus Larix
  • Plants monoecious (bisexual).
  • Male cones small produce copious amounts of pollen, deciduous.
  • Female cones are woody usualy persistent

Natural History:

  • Pinaceae as we know it emerged as a separate family about 100MYA

Family Size:


Genera: 10

Species: 250

North America:




Genera: 5

Species: 6

Illustrated Key To Pinaceae Species

Abies lasiocarpa

Larix laricina

Pinus contorta

Picea mariana

Picea glauca

Dicotomous Key To Pinaceae Speceies

  • A: Leaves (needles) in dence clusters, deciduous: Larax laricina
  • A: Leaves (needles) single or in pairs, evergreen:
    • B:Leaves (needles) in pairs, longer than 2cm: Pinus contorta
    • B: Leaves (needles) single, 2cm or shorter:
      • C: Cones erect, bark smooth often with resign (sticky sap) filled blisters: Abies lasiocarpa
      • C: Cones not erect, bark rough: Picea

Pinaceae Genera

Abies (Fir Genus)

  • Female cones verticle on stems. Scales quickly disintigrating leaving spike like axis.
  • Bark often has resign (oily sticky sap) filled blisters.

Larix (Larch Genus)

  • Leaves (needles) deciduous.
  • Female cones smallish and round. Bright red durring flowering time become brown with age.

Picea (Spruce Genus)

  • Female cones long or short
  • Large or small trees.

Pinus (Pine Genus)

  • Needles in pairs and longer than our other species.
  • Female cones very hard, lopsided and curved back on the branch.

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