Slash pine

(Pinus elliottii)



Pinus elliottii, commonly known as slash pine, is a conifer tree in the Southeastern United States. Slash pine is named after the "slashes" – swampy ground overgrown with trees and bushes – that constitute its habitat. Other common names include swamp pine, yellow slash pine, and southern Florida pine. Historically, slash pine has been an important economic timber for naval stores, turpentine, and resin. Slash pine has two different varieties: P. e. var. elliottii and P. e. var. densa. Slash pine is known for its unusually high strength, especially for pine. It exceeds many hardwoods and is even comparable to very dense woods such as ironwood. This tree is fast-growing, but not very long-lived by pine standards (to 200 years). It reaches heights of 18–30 m (59–98 ft) with a trunk diameter of 0.6–0.8 m (2.0–2.6 ft). The leaves are needle-like, very slender, in clusters of two or three, and 18–24 cm (7.1–9.4 in) long. The cones are glossy red-brown, 5–15 cm (2.0–5.9 in) in length, with a short (2–3 mm or 0.079–0.118 in), thick prickle on each scale. It is known for its conical shape and unusually high strength, especially for a pine. Its wood has an average crush strength of 8,140 lb/in2 (56.1 MPa), which exceeds many hardwoods such as white ash (7,410 lb/in2) and black maple (6,680 lb/in2). It is not as strong as black ironwood (9,940 lb/in2), but because its average density is less than half that of ironwood, slash pine has a far greater strength-to-weight ratio. Communities dominated by slash pine are termed "slash pine forests". Slash pine is predominately found in Florida and Georgia, and extends from South Carolina west to southeastern Louisiana, and south to the Florida Keys. It is common in East Texas, where it was first planted at the E.O. Siecke State Forest in 1926. The natural habitat is sandy subtropical maritime forests and wet flatwoods. Slash pine generally grows better in warm, humid areas where the average annual temperature is 17 °C (63 °F), with extreme ranges from −18 to 41 °C (0 to 106 °F). Factors such as competition, fire, and precipitation may limit the natural distribution of these trees. Slash pines are able to grow in an array of soils, but pine stands that are close to bodies of water such as swamps and ponds grow better because of higher soil moisture and seedling protection from wildfire.

Taxonomic tree:

Kingdom: Plantae
Class: Pinopsida
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