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Minnesota Greeting: The skyline of Minneapolis is seen against a red, almost mauve, sky and a large orange moon. In the foreground is a common loon, the state bird.

Minnesota State Tree

Red Pine aka Norway Pine

Minnesota State Tree: Red Pine or Norway Pine

(Pinaceae Pinus resinosa)

Adopted in 1953.

The red or Norway pine (Pinus resinosa) was made official in 1953. (Minnesota Statutes 1.143)

Through the efforts of the Friday Study Club in Minneapolis, and backed by the Minnesota Federation of Women's Clubs, the Norway pine designation was passed in 1953. It was sponsored by Sen. Gordon H. Butler and Rep. George A. French, and signed into law by Governor C. Elmer Anderson on February 18, 1953. The language of Chapter 20 noted the sturdiness and majesty of the tree, and how it helped lay the foundation for the wealth of Minnesota. Red pines are tall, stately trees that reach heights of 60 to nearly 150 feet. Their trunks are straight and uniform and may grow to five feet in diameter. When mature, the trees usually are bare of branches for two-thirds of the way up the trunk, with rounded tops or "crowns."

Minnesota State Tree: Red Pine aka Norway Pine

Minnesota State Tree: Red Pine or Norway Pine

The red pine (Pinus resinosa) is pine native to North America. The Red Pine occurs from Newfoundland west to Manitoba, and south to Pennsylvania, with several smaller, disjunct populations occurring in the Appalachian Mountains in Virginia and West Virginia, as well as a few small pockets in extreme northern New Jersey and one in north central Illinois

The Norway Pine is also called the red pine because of its reddish brown bark, stands 60 to 100 feet tall, with a trunk three to five feet wide. Its needles are four to six inches long and grow in pairs.

The tallest Norway pine in Minnesota is in Itasca State Park. It is over 300 years old and stands 120 feet high. Red pine is one of the most extensively planted species in the northern United States and Canada. It is a medium-size tree with lightweight, close-grained, pale reddish wood used primarily for timber and pulpwood. Trees 97 cm (38 in) in d.b.h. and 43 m (141 ft) tall in Michigan are among the largest living specimens.

Common Names:

Norway Pine is also called the red pine.

The name Norway comes from early explorers who thought the tree was a pine they had seen back home in Norway. Perhaps because so many Norwegians live here, Minnesota is the only state that still uses the term Norway. The Norway pine is extremely resistant to insects and disease.

Identification of the Red Pine aka Norway Pine

Minnesota State Tree: Red Pine or Norway Pine
  • Leaf: Evergreen, 4 to 6 inches long, with two needles per fascicle that snap cleanly when doubled.
  • Flower: Monoecious; males almost round, light red, in large clusters at branch tips; females a round, short cone, reddish-brown.
  • Fruit: Cones are ovoid, broad near the base and tapering to a point at the tip; 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 inches long. The apophysis is chestnut brown and the umbo is not armed. Maturing August to October.
  • Twig: Medium textured, orange-brown in color with orange-brown buds.
  • Bark: On young trees, red-brown or pink to gray, flaky. Eventually becoming plated, the plates have scaly surfaces.
  • Form: A medium-size tree with an ovoid crown and a clear bole. Foliage is tufted, resembling a fox tail.

Minnesota Law

The law designating the Red pine as the official Minnesota state tree is found in the Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 1, Section 1.143.

Subdivision 1.Red or Norway pine.

The Red pine (Pinus resinosa), more commonly known as Norway pine, is designated as the official state tree of the state of Minnesota.
Subd. 2.Photograph.

A photograph of the Red pine, to be obtained and approved by the commissioner of natural resources, shall be certified and preserved in the Office of the Secretary of State.

1953 c 20 s 1; 1983 c 119 s 2; 1984 c 628 art 1 s 1

Taxonomic Hierarchy:  Red Pine Tree

Kingdom: Plantae - Plants
    Subkingdom: Tracheobionta - Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta - Seed plants
    Division: Coniferophyta - Conifers
Class: Pinopsida
Order: Pinales
Family: Pinaceae - Pine family
Genus: Pinus L. - pine
Species: Pinus resinosa Aiton - red pine

State Trees
State Trees
All of the state trees, except the Hawaii state tree, are native to the state.