Jack Pine is found in almost all of the Upper Peninsula and in the northern half of the Lower Peninsula. Among all Michigan tree species, the jack pine is uniquely adapted to exist and reproduce on the hottest and driest sites in Michigan. It thrives on dune sand and on the sandy glacial plains, where it often occurs in dense stands. It is called a fire species because historically, wildfires swept through jack pine stands and prepared the ground for a new stand. The heat from the fire enabled the cones to release their seeds, which sprouted into the next generation of jack pines.
Jack pine is a conifer; it keeps its needles all year long and produces cones. The easy way to identify a pine from any other conifer, such as spruce and hemlock, is by the needles. If they are in bundles or clumps called fascicles, it is a pine tree. If they have single needles, it is not. Jack pine trees have two long needles in a bundle, similarly to red pine, while white pine has five needles in each bundle. Jack pine needles are much shorter than red pine needles at a length of ¾ to 2” long. Another way to identify Jack Pine is by its cones.
Department of Natural Resources