Which State Is Called The Pine Tree State?

, Staff Writer
Updated July 6, 2021
maine the pine tree state
    maine the pine tree state
    pine tree branches: Adél Békefi / Moment / Getty , Maine lettering: Anton Ostapenko / iStock / Getty Images Plus
    Used under Getty Images license

Are you wondering which state is nicknamed The Pine Tree State? Here's a hint: It's one of the northeastern states, and it's almost entirely covered by forests. Pine trees aren't the only type of tree there, but they're very abundant. Keep exploring to discover the answer.

Maine Nickname: The Pine Tree State

Maine is the state that's often referred to as The Pine Tree State. Why? There's a really good reason! Almost 90 percent of the land in Maine is covered by forests. The exact number is 89.1 percent, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). That equates to 17.6 million acres of forest in a state that only measures just under 21.3 acres of land. It's hard to visualize what Maine looks like without thinking of trees.

White Pine: Maine's State Tree

The trees in Maine aren't all pine trees, but the white pine is Maine's official state tree. This type of tree was initially designated as the official state tree in 1945. The white pine is the largest conifer known to grow in the United States. A conifer is a tree with cones and pointy leaves that resemble needles.

The white pine tree is native to the northeastern region of the United States (New England). Maine is home to some of the largest examples of these trees, which means that the state's forests boast some of the tallest trees on the continent of North America. This fact alone could explain why Maine is called The Pine Tree State, but it's only part of the answer.

Economic Impact of White Pine Trees

The white pine tree's size and beauty are not the only reasons that it is designated as Maine's official tree or is reflected in the state's nickname. These trees have long played a significant role in Maine's economy since long before it became a state; even before the United States of America became a country.

  • Even in the early 1600s, white pine trees were harvested to make ship masts. They were coveted by the British Navy to the extent that they specified in the charter of Massachusetts (which included what eventually became Maine) the right to harvest the largest of the trees for their own use.
  • This marked the beginning of the lumber industry in what became the state of Maine in 1820. While the virgin timber had largely been harvested by 1850, the lumber industry continued to grow. The industry peaked in the early 1900s but is still big business today.
  • In modern times, the state of Maine remains the top producer of white pine lumber in the United States. It is estimated that logging contributes more than $600 million to the state's economy every year.

Even with its long-term timber industry, the vast majority of Maine is covered with trees, making the state a popular destination for outdoors enthusiasts. As a result, white pine trees and other trees in the vast forests of Maine further contribute to the state's economy, as well as its unique beauty.


White Pine Is Also Maine's State Flower

Not only is the white pine the state tree of Maine, but part of this tree is also designated as the official state flower. This is a bit unconventional as state flowers go, but it is what it is. The pine cone and tassel of the white pine tree are recognized as the state flower of Maine. While they are not traditional flowers, the white pine tree does actually flower in the spring. It produces both yellow cylinder-shaped flowers and clusters of small green flowers.

Exploring State Nicknames

Isn't it interesting to know why the Maine nickname is based on the white pine trees that grow there? Learning this kind of fact about a state definitely provides you with interesting insights. Are you ready to explore the nicknames of other states? You'll find that not every state nickname has the same story. Each one is unique. Since Maine is on the East Coast, start by considering another state that's also located on that coast. You'll be fascinated to unlock the mystery of why Pennsylvania is the Keystone State.