Pinus palustris

(Pinus palustris)



The longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) is a pine species native to the Southeastern United States, found along the coastal plain from East Texas to southern Virginia, extending into northern and central Florida. It reaches a height of 30–35 m (98–115 ft) and a diameter of 0.7 m (28 in). In the past, before extensive logging, they reportedly grew to 47 m (154 ft) with a diameter of 1.2 m (47 in). The tree is a cultural symbol of the Southern United States, being the official state tree of Alabama. Contrary to popular belief, this particular species of pine is not officially the state tree of North Carolina. The bark is thick, reddish-brown, and scaly. The leaves are dark green and needle-like, and occur in bundles of mainly three, sometimes two or four, especially in seedlings. They often are twisted and 20–45 centimetres (7+3⁄4–17+3⁄4 inches) in length. It is one of the two Southeastern U.S. pines with long needles, the other being slash pine. The cones, both female seed cones (ovulate strobili) and male pollen cones (staminate strobili), are initiated during the growing season before buds emerge. Pollen cones begin forming in their buds in July, while seed conelets are formed during a relatively short period of time in August. Pollination occurs early the following spring, with the male cones 3–8 cm (1+1⁄4–3+1⁄4 in) long. The female (seed) cones mature in about 20 months from pollination; when mature, they are yellow-brown in color, 15–25 cm (6–9+3⁄4 in) long, and 5–7 cm (2–2+3⁄4 in) broad, opening to 12 cm (4+3⁄4 in), and have a small, but sharp, downward-pointing spine on the middle of each scale. The seeds are 7–9 millimetres (1⁄4–3⁄8 in) long, with a 25–40 mm (1–1+5⁄8 in) wing. Longleaf pine takes 100 to 150 years to become full size and may live to be 500 years old. When young, they grow a long taproot, which usually is 2–3 metres (6+1⁄2–10 feet) long; by maturity, they have a wide spreading lateral root system with several deep 'sinker' roots. They grow on well-drained, usually sandy soil, characteristically in pure stands. Longleaf pine also is known as being one of several species grouped as a southern yellow pine or longleaf yellow pine, and in the past as pitch pine (a name dropped as it caused confusion with pitch pine, Pinus rigida).

Taxonomic tree:

Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Coniferophyta
Class: Pinopsida
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