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Longleaf Pine (Pinus palustris)

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Summary

A long-lived, fire-adapted species of pine native to the southeastern U.S., and the largest of the southern pine species, the longleaf pine has declined due to a combination of heavy harvesting for timber, slow natural regeneration, and fire suppression.

Range - Expand

LegendColor
Native
Native or Not Present
Native or Expanded

This tentative map is based on our own research. It may have limited data on Canada and/or Mexico, and there is some subjectivity in our assignment of plants as introduced vs. expanded. Read more in this blog post.

Habitat

Occurs in regions that burn regularly and requires fire for long-term survival. Tolerates dry conditions, and deep, sandy soils low in nutrients. Mostly found at low elevations, below 660ft (200m) but can be found up to about 1970 feet (600m.)

Requires high light conditions, usually maintained by fire.

Life Cycle

Seeds germinate within a couple weeks of falling, and require exposed mineral soil to germinate. Seedlings spend their early years, usually at least 2 but as long as 20, in a "grass stage", where the plant has no stem and superficially resembles a grass. During this time, the plant establishes an extensive root system. Once sufficient roots are established, the the plant begins growing upright, often faster than 3ft / 1m per year. The tree initially grows with a single trunk and does not typically branch until about 10 to 16 feet (3-5 m) in height.

Seedlings in the grass stage are able to resprout vegetatively, but upright trees are not as able to resprout.

Trees begin producing cones at about 30 years of age. Trees have a two-tier masting cycle, in which there is a heavy seed crop every 7 to 10 years, and a moderate seed crop every 3-4 years.

Established trees can live 400-500 years.

Uses

The wood of this species is among the most desirable types of pine, valued for its straight wood with few defects. Its wood is considered similar to other southern yellow pines, but often the most desirable among them.

Longleaf Pine | The Wood Database (About This Site)

Longleaf Pine | Fire Effects Information System (FEIS) (About This Site)

Pinus palustris (Longleaf Pine) | USDA PLANTS Database (About This Site)

Longleaf Pine | Virginia Tech Dendrology Factsheets (About This Site)

Longleaf Pine | Silvics of North America (About This Site)

Pinus palustris | Biota of North America Project (BONAP) (About This Site)