Native Pines

and Conifers of Michigan

Site Under Construction

Pine, Spruce, Hemlock, Cedar, Tamarack?  Here is how to tell them apart!

Michigan has many wonderful pines and other conifers.   From the majestic White Pine, state tree of Michigan to the shrub like Juniper.  This site is for everyone who wishes to get to know these trees better.   Understanding  these conifers will give you a greater understanding of Michigan, its climate, its soils, its geology and its history.

It is hard to believe that most of Michigan was under  up to 1 mile of ice not too long ago (about 14,000 years ago).  Yet this monumental event  formed our lakes, beaches and vegetation.  I evicence of this glacier, called by geologists the Laurentide Ice Sheet, is all around us.  The sand of the Lake Michigan beaches is rock ground up by moving glaciers.    Many of the inland lakes were formed by large blocks of ice embedded in the soil from the retreating glaciers.   The ridges and hills were shaped by moraines plowed up the the glacier.  The rich flat farmlands around Grand Rapids, Muskegon and elsewhere were at one time glacial outflow lakes.    And, last but not leaset, our magnificent pines, spruce, hemlock and fir are left from the thousand of years when Michigan had a much colder climate than now.

Our state tree, the White Pine (Pinus strobus) deserves special attention.  It was this tree that attracted european settlement in the mid 1800's.  The plunder of this species and the devastating wild fires that followed  are a testamony to the greed and arrogance of the culture of the time.  

Today, we know a lot better, the pines and  other species are making a comeback.  Other threats occure now though.  Exotic invasive species are endangering many of our 

So go to Hartwick Pines State park to view one the few  remaining remnants of the former grandeur of our White Pine forests.  Check out a bog to see the White  and  Black Spruce.  Find some Balsam Fir in the north of our state and "pop" some resin blister to smell  the wonderful odor.