Unopened Seed Cone of Slash Pine (Pinus elliottii)

Photo of Slash Pine (Pinus elliottii)

A closed pine seed cone, with glossy, dark brown cone scales and small cone prickles, lying on sand with sparse pine needles

View high resolution

Taken on Apr. 19, 2010

This photo shows an unopened seed cone of a slash pine (Pinus elliottii), on Honeymoon Island State Park in Florida.

Note the glossy or shiny texture to the outer surface of this cone, and the relatively small, delicate prickles on the cone scales. Both of these characteristics contrast with the cones of loblolly pine (Pinus taeda), a species that overlaps in range and sometimes habitat with this species, and has otherwise similar-looking cones.

This particular cone is more ovoid in shape and rather blunt-tipped, but this feature is highly variable from cone to cone, even on the same tree, and is not a useful diagnostic for identifying this species.

The background of this picture shows sand with sparse needle litter. Such coarse sandy soils, poor in organic matter, are typical of barrier islands like this. Although slash pine can be found on a range of different soil types, they do tolerate the sandy soils of these barrier islands.

Photographer & Copyright

© Kent McFarland

Photo Source

Public Domain

Inclusion in Plant ID / Comparison Guides

This photo is featured in 1 plant ID/comparison guide:

collage of Loblolly Pine and Slash Pine

Loblolly Pine (Pinus taeda) vs. Slash Pine (Pinus elliottii)

Updated January 24th, 2023

These pines are sometimes confused; both grow on wet, poorly-drained sites and have needles of roughly similar length. They are easily distinguished by bark and growth habit, and can also usually be distinguished by needle count and characteristics of fresh cones. P. taeda ranges farther north and is less fire-tolerant, whereas P. elliotti ranges farther south and is more fire-tolerant.

View Full Guide