Most Americans in the Eastern half of the nation are familiar with the Pinus strobus tree, better known as the Eastern (or Northern) White Pine. But there’s one particular variety of this beloved conifer that’s less common that gives us even more reasons to love the species.
While the Eastern White Pine normally stands tall, with the oldest specimens soaring hundreds of feet into the air, ‘Angel Falls’ is more demure, its posture mimicking that of celebrated weeping trees like willows and cherries. Growing in popularity as a landscaping feature, ‘Angel Falls’ isn’t seen in natural mixed species forests because it’s actually a cultivar developed in by Iseli Nursery in Oregon. Here’s how they describe it:
“Started from seed in 1981, the slow-growing tree has very long, very narrow, light green needles and a strong weeping habit. Its closely held branches develop graceful draping forms that combine a tall, narrow stature with a broad, flowing skirt. Named for the world’s tallest waterfall after 20 years of evaluation, the unique tree offers elegance and style.”
Angel Falls isn’t the only weeping variety of Pinus strobus. Others include the low-growing semi-dwarf Pendula, which has a tendency to create mounded shapes. A smaller cultivar is the Blue Shag, which grows just 3 to 6 inches per year to a mature size of roughly 5 by 5 feet. Iseli Nursery’s ‘Niagara Falls’ cultivar features an abundance of draping branches and a flowing habit, as its name suggests. The Angel Falls, meanwhile, can stand quite a bit taller when staked.
While none of these drooping pines have much to offer in the way of lumber, they’re prized among gardeners, and show off some of the non-commercial reasons to nurture and treasure the Eastern White Pine in all of its forms.