Hong Kong is a crowded city with skyscrapers built everywhere. Nature might be one of the things you are desperate to see in order to get rid of this hustle and bustle of city life for a second. But this can only be realized if you visit the zoo or go hiking.
Compared to Hong Kong, there is a much larger range of biodiversity found in the United States. As a newcomer to the States, there are some species that I have never seen in Hong Kong. Of these, the Whitebark Pine, which is also named as Pinus albicaulis, that I saw at Crater Lake National Park is definitely worth mentioning.
The entire snowy mountain is covered by the Whitebark Pine, with the deepest blue lake in the United States located in the center. These trees constitute one of the most spectacular natural landscapes in the world.
This kind of pine grows mainly in Western United States. Whitebark Pine trees are around 20m to 27m tall. Whitebark pine is considered to be one of the highest-elevation pine trees on the mountain.
Needles of Whitebark Pine trees are stiff and curved. Usually bunches of five needles clump together towards the ends of branches. The seed cones are egg-shaped.
The Whitebark Pine’s young stem has thin, smooth and chalky-white bark, whereas the old stem has thicker and narrow, brown and scaly bark. This is the reason it has its name as “Whitebark Pine.” Hence, every Whitebark Pine has a white mark on the lower part of the stem.
A dry to moderate moist environment is always the most optimal place for Whitebark Pine to grow. Therefore, Whitebark Pine cannot grow in Hong Kong because Hong Kong has hot and humid weather.
Undeniably, Whitebark Pines play an integral part in the shaping of the magnificent landscape of Crater Lake with the high accumulation of snow surrounding it. They create such an amazing, breathtaking painting and unveil the secret of Nature in front of us!