The bark on ponderosa pines helps to distinguish it from other species. Mature specimens have cinnamon-red bark with black crevices and younger trees have black to reddish-brown bark. The tree can often be identified by its characteristic long needles that grow in tufts of two to four (or five) depending on subspecies. Opinions differ on the scent. Some state that it has no distinctive scent, while other sources note that the bark’s furrow smells like vanilla.
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