Pinus ponderosa, commonly known as the ponderosa pine, bull pine, blackjack pine, or western yellow-pine, is a very large pine tree species of variable habitat native to mountainous regions of western North America. It is the most widely distributed pine species in North America. 


Scientific name: Pinus ponderosa
Rank: Species
Conservation status: Least Concern  
Symbol of: Montana
Higher classification: Pinus


Did you know: The ponderosa pine adapts to a variety of soil conditions at high and low elevations including deep, moist, well-drained, loamy sand, clay loam, rocky, dry, alkaline and salt soils. 

The Ponderosa can be found in several locations throughout the arboretum:

Dottie's Garden along pathway

East side of Playground area in Plaza

Bear Meadows near viewing area

South Plaza (small specimens)

Wolf Conifer Garden

Conservation Center


Before the arboretum and ZooMontana were established the grounds were open fields and part of the Canyon Creek riparian landscape. As a result many specimens were native to the area. Some of these have been accessioned into the arboretum as examples of native Montana species. Over the years planting of native species were added to exemplify the plant culture of the state and Yellowstone County. Below are examples of native Montana trees and woody shrubs along with their locations in the arboretum.


From left to right: Plains Cottonwood (Plaza near Children's Garden and throughout grounds), Indian Currant/Coralberry (Eagle habitat and Berry Patch), Curl Leaf Mountain Mahogany (South Plaza, Old Pond, Wolf Conifer Garden-introduced 2019), Engelmann Spruce ( above Eagle habitat), Peach-Leaf Willow (Eagle Bridge)


From left to right: Ponderosa Pine (Dottie's,Playground,Bear Meadows), Dogwood (Bear Meadows,Birds of Prey, Homestead Collection), Limber Pine (Bear Meadows, Lynx Pathway), Aspen (Birds of Prey, Visitor's Center),

Lewis Mock Orange (Birds of Prey)

From left to right: Shrub Cinquefoil-Potentilla (Lynx Pathway, Sensory Garden), Balsam Poplar (Bear Meadows, Waterways), Utah Serviceberry (Lynx Pathway), Black Hawthorn (Lynx Pathway), Douglas Fir

(Lynx Pathway, Waterways)

From left to right: Skunkbush Sumac (Lynx Pathway), Vanderwolf Pine (Lynx Pathway), Riverbank Grape (Lynx Pathway), Western Chokecherry (Upper Tiger Viewing Area,Berry Patch), Rocky Mountain Maple

(Red Panda Viewing Area)

From left to right: Narrow-leaf Cottonwood (Asian Habitats, Wolf Bridge), Snowberry (Lynx, Waterways, Dottie's Garden, throughout grounds), Boxelder (Wolf Junction), Water Birch (Waterways), Buffaloberry (Waterways, Berry Patch)


From left to right: Lodgepole Pine (Dottie's Garden, Birds of Prey), Saskatoon Serviceberry (Sensory Garden, Lynx Pathway), Bur Oak (Amphitheater Knoll, Front Entry), Larch (Lynx Pathway, Homestead Collection), Green Ash (Homestead Collection, West Parking Lot,other Ashes at Amphitheater Knoll and Plaza)


From left to right: American Plum (Old Pond), Rocky Mountain Juniper (Old Pond, Sensory Garden, Lynx Pathway), Antelope Bitterbrush (Dottie's Garden behind Sweetbrier Rose), Black Hills Spruce (South Plaza, Lynx Pathway, Millennium Grove), Wood's Rose (throughout wild areas of grounds)