The red pine stands tall in the forest (80-120 feet) with a narrow trunk measuring only 2-3 feet in diameter. It gets its name from the large reddish-brown platelike bark that forms on the trunk as it ages. The branches form a high crown (top) with many older dead branches trailing down the trunk to the ground. Look for two dark green very long needles growing in a cluster that measure 4-6 inches. The cone is purplish and grows to around 2 inches long with flat, indented scales. The seeds are 1/8 inches with wings to carry them in the wind. Like all pines, the cones take two years to mature.
Red pines grow together in large stands in northern Wisconsin and in small stands as far south as Dane County. They are very popular for forest planting because they are usually disease free and insects don't bother them. Their wood is pale red with white sapwood. The wood is somewhat hard and used for pulpwood (making paper products). People also use the wood for construction lumber, and pressure-treated poles. Many people like to call this tree the "Norway Pine."