Home      Discussion      Topics      Dictionary      Almanac
Signup       Login
Longleaf Pine

Longleaf Pine

Overview
Pinus palustris, commonly known as the Longleaf Pine, is a pine
Pine
Pines are trees in the genus Pinus ,in the family Pinaceae. They make up the monotypic subfamily Pinoideae. There are about 115 species of pine, although different authorities accept between 105 and 125 species.-Etymology:...

 native to the southeastern United States
Southeastern United States
The Southeastern United States, colloquially referred to as the Southeast, is the eastern portion of the Southern United States. It is one of the most populous regions in the United States of America....

, found along the coastal plain from eastern Texas
East Texas
East Texas is a distinct geographic and ecological area in the U.S. state of Texas.According to the Handbook of Texas, the East Texas area "may be separated from the rest of Texas roughly by a line extending from the Red River in north central Lamar County southwestward to east central Limestone...

 to southeast Virginia
Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

 extending into northern and central Florida
Florida
Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

.

It reaches a height of 30–35 m (98.4–114.8 ft) and a diameter of 0.7 m (27.6 in). In the past, they reportedly grew to 47 m (154.2 ft) with a diameter of 1.2 m (47.2 in).

The bark is thick, reddish-brown, and scaly.
Discussion
Ask a question about 'Longleaf Pine'
Start a new discussion about 'Longleaf Pine'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Unanswered Questions
Encyclopedia
Pinus palustris, commonly known as the Longleaf Pine, is a pine
Pine
Pines are trees in the genus Pinus ,in the family Pinaceae. They make up the monotypic subfamily Pinoideae. There are about 115 species of pine, although different authorities accept between 105 and 125 species.-Etymology:...

 native to the southeastern United States
Southeastern United States
The Southeastern United States, colloquially referred to as the Southeast, is the eastern portion of the Southern United States. It is one of the most populous regions in the United States of America....

, found along the coastal plain from eastern Texas
East Texas
East Texas is a distinct geographic and ecological area in the U.S. state of Texas.According to the Handbook of Texas, the East Texas area "may be separated from the rest of Texas roughly by a line extending from the Red River in north central Lamar County southwestward to east central Limestone...

 to southeast Virginia
Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

 extending into northern and central Florida
Florida
Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

.

It reaches a height of 30–35 m (98.4–114.8 ft) and a diameter of 0.7 m (27.6 in). In the past, they reportedly grew to 47 m (154.2 ft) with a diameter of 1.2 m (47.2 in).

The bark is thick, reddish-brown, and scaly. The leaves
Leaf
A leaf is an organ of a vascular plant, as defined in botanical terms, and in particular in plant morphology. Foliage is a mass noun that refers to leaves as a feature of plants....

 are dark green, needle-like, and occur in bundles of three. They often are twisted and remarkably long 20–45 cm (7.9–17.7 in) in length. It is one of the two southeastern U.S. pines with long needles, the other being Slash Pine
Slash Pine
Pinus elliottii, commonly known as the Slash Pine, is a pine native to the southeastern United States, from southern South Carolina west to southeastern Louisiana, and south to the Florida Keys....

.


The cones
Conifer cone
A cone is an organ on plants in the division Pinophyta that contains the reproductive structures. The familiar woody cone is the female cone, which produces seeds. The male cones, which produce pollen, are usually herbaceous and much less conspicuous even at full maturity...

, 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 (1.2–3.1 in) long. The female (seed) cones mature in about twenty months from pollination; when mature they are yellow-brown in color, 15–25 cm (5.9–9.8 in) long, 5–7 cm (2–2.8 in) broad opening to 12 cm (4.7 in), and have a small, but sharp, downward-pointing spine on the middle of each scale. The seed
Seed
A seed is a small embryonic plant enclosed in a covering called the seed coat, usually with some stored food. It is the product of the ripened ovule of gymnosperm and angiosperm plants which occurs after fertilization and some growth within the mother plant...

s are 7–9 mm (0.275590551181102–0.354330708661417 in) long, with a 25–40 mm (0.984251968503937–1.6 in) wing.

Longleaf Pine takes 100 to 150 years to become full size and may live to 500 years old. When young, they grow a long taproot
Taproot
A taproot is an enlarged, somewhat straight to tapering plant root that grows vertically downward. It forms a center from which other roots sprout laterally.Plants with taproots are difficult to transplant...

, which usually is 2–3 m (6.6–9.8 ft) long; by maturity they have a wide spreading lateral root system with several deep 'sinker' roots. It grows on well-drained, usually sand
Sand
Sand is a naturally occurring granular material composed of finely divided rock and mineral particles.The composition of sand is highly variable, depending on the local rock sources and conditions, but the most common constituent of sand in inland continental settings and non-tropical coastal...

y soil
Soil
Soil is a natural body consisting of layers of mineral constituents of variable thicknesses, which differ from the parent materials in their morphological, physical, chemical, and mineralogical characteristics...

, often in pure stands. In northern Alabama
Alabama
Alabama is a state located in the southeastern region of the United States. It is bordered by Tennessee to the north, Georgia to the east, Florida and the Gulf of Mexico to the south, and Mississippi to the west. Alabama ranks 30th in total land area and ranks second in the size of its inland...

, it sometimes occurs on clay
Clay
Clay is a general term including many combinations of one or more clay minerals with traces of metal oxides and organic matter. Geologic clay deposits are mostly composed of phyllosilicate minerals containing variable amounts of water trapped in the mineral structure.- Formation :Clay minerals...

 soil. The scientific name meaning, "of marshes," is a misunderstanding on the part of Philip Miller
Philip Miller
Philip Miller FRS was a Scottish botanist.Miller was chief gardener at the Chelsea Physic Garden from 1722 until he was pressured to retire shortly before his death...

 who described the species, after seeing Longleaf Pine forests with temporary winter flooding.

Longleaf Pine also is known as being one of several species grouped as a Southern Yellow Pine
Southern Yellow Pine
Southern Yellow Pine doesn't refer to any one species of tree, but rather a group of species which are classified as yellow pine , and are native to the Southern United States. They grow very well in the acidic red clay soil found in most of the region. The varieties include Loblolly, Longleaf,...

  or Longleaf Yellow Pine, and in the past as Pitch Pine (a name dropped as it caused confusion with Pitch Pine
Pitch Pine
The Pitch Pine, Pinus rigida, is a small-to-medium sized pine, native to eastern North America. This species occasionally hybridizes with other pine species such as Loblolly Pine , Shortleaf Pine , and Pond Pine The Pitch Pine, Pinus rigida, is a small-to-medium sized (6-30 meters or 20-100 feet)...

, Pinus rigida).

Ecology



Longleaf Pine is highly resistant to fire
Wildfire
A wildfire is any uncontrolled fire in combustible vegetation that occurs in the countryside or a wilderness area. Other names such as brush fire, bushfire, forest fire, desert fire, grass fire, hill fire, squirrel fire, vegetation fire, veldfire, and wilkjjofire may be used to describe the same...

. Periodic natural wildfire selects for this species by killing other trees, leading to open Longleaf Pine forest
Forest
A forest, also referred to as a wood or the woods, is an area with a high density of trees. As with cities, depending where you are in the world, what is considered a forest may vary significantly in size and have various classification according to how and what of the forest is composed...

s or savannas
Eastern savannas of the United States
The eastern savannas of the United States covered large portions of the east side of the continent until the early 20th century. These were in a fire ecology of open grassland and forests with low ground cover of herbs and grasses....

. New seedlings do not appear at all tree-like and resemble a green fountain of needles. This form is called the grass stage. During this stage, which lasts for 5–12 years, vertical growth is very slow, and the tree may take a number of years simply to grow ankle-high. After that it makes a growth spurt, especially if there is no tree canopy above it. In the grass stage, it is very resistant to grass fires, which burn off the ends of the needles, but the fire cannot penetrate the tightly-packed needle bases to reach the bud. While relatively immune to fire, at this stage, the plant is quite appealing to feral pigs
Domestic pig
The domestic pig is a domesticated animal that traces its ancestry to the wild boar, and is considered a subspecies of the wild boar or a distinct species in its own right. It is likely the wild boar was domesticated as early as 13,000 BC in the Tigris River basin...

, and the early settlers habit of releasing swine into the woodlands to feed was greatly responsible for the decline of the species.

Longleaf Pine forests are rich in biodiversity
Biodiversity
Biodiversity is the degree of variation of life forms within a given ecosystem, biome, or an entire planet. Biodiversity is a measure of the health of ecosystems. Biodiversity is in part a function of climate. In terrestrial habitats, tropical regions are typically rich whereas polar regions...

. The Red-cockaded Woodpecker
Red-cockaded Woodpecker
The Red-cockaded Woodpecker is a woodpecker found in southeastern North America.- Description :About the size of the Northern Cardinal, it is approximately 8.5 in. long, with a wingspan of about 14 in. and a weight of about 1.5 ounces...

 is dependent on Longleaf Pine forests, and is now endangered
Conservation status
The conservation status of a group of organisms indicates whether the group is still extant and how likely the group is to become extinct in the near future...

 as a result of this decline. Longleaf Pines seed
Seed
A seed is a small embryonic plant enclosed in a covering called the seed coat, usually with some stored food. It is the product of the ripened ovule of gymnosperm and angiosperm plants which occurs after fertilization and some growth within the mother plant...

s are large and nutritious, forming a significant food source for bird
Bird
Birds are feathered, winged, bipedal, endothermic , egg-laying, vertebrate animals. Around 10,000 living species and 188 families makes them the most speciose class of tetrapod vertebrates. They inhabit ecosystems across the globe, from the Arctic to the Antarctic. Extant birds range in size from...

s (notably the Brown-headed Nuthatch
Brown-headed Nuthatch
The Brown-headed Nuthatch, Sitta pusilla, is a small songbird found in pine forests throughout the Southeastern United States. An endangered population occurs in the pineyards of Grand Bahama; some authorities consider it to represent a separate species, S. insularis...

) and other wildlife
Wildlife
Wildlife includes all non-domesticated plants, animals and other organisms. Domesticating wild plant and animal species for human benefit has occurred many times all over the planet, and has a major impact on the environment, both positive and negative....

.

The Red Hills Region
Red Hills Region
The Red Hills Region is a unique 300,000-acre area of the southeastearn United States overlapping parts of southwestern Georgia and north Florida.-Location:...

 of Florida and Georgia is home to some of the best preserved stands of Longleaf Pine. These forests have been burned regularly for many decades to encourage Bobwhite Quail
Bobwhite Quail
The Northern Bobwhite, Virginia Quail or Bobwhite Quail is a ground-dwelling bird native to the United States, Mexico, and the Caribbean...

 habitat in private hunting plantations.

Uses



Vast forests of Longleaf Pine once were present along the southeastern Atlantic
Atlantic Ocean
The Atlantic Ocean is the second-largest of the world's oceanic divisions. With a total area of about , it covers approximately 20% of the Earth's surface and about 26% of its water surface area...

 coast and Gulf Coast
Gulf of Mexico
The Gulf of Mexico is a partially landlocked ocean basin largely surrounded by the North American continent and the island of Cuba. It is bounded on the northeast, north and northwest by the Gulf Coast of the United States, on the southwest and south by Mexico, and on the southeast by Cuba. In...

 of North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

, as part of the eastern savannas
Eastern savannas of the United States
The eastern savannas of the United States covered large portions of the east side of the continent until the early 20th century. These were in a fire ecology of open grassland and forests with low ground cover of herbs and grasses....

. These forests were the source of naval stores - resin
Resin
Resin in the most specific use of the term is a hydrocarbon secretion of many plants, particularly coniferous trees. Resins are valued for their chemical properties and associated uses, such as the production of varnishes, adhesives, and food glazing agents; as an important source of raw materials...

, turpentine
Turpentine
Turpentine is a fluid obtained by the distillation of resin obtained from trees, mainly pine trees. It is composed of terpenes, mainly the monoterpenes alpha-pinene and beta-pinene...

, and timber
Timber
Timber may refer to:* Timber, a term common in the United Kingdom and Australia for wood materials * Timber, Oregon, an unincorporated community in the U.S...

 - needed by merchant
Merchant
A merchant is a businessperson who trades in commodities that were produced by others, in order to earn a profit.Merchants can be one of two types:# A wholesale merchant operates in the chain between producer and retail merchant...

s and the navy
Navy
A navy is the branch of a nation's armed forces principally designated for naval and amphibious warfare; namely, lake- or ocean-borne combat operations and related functions...

 for their ship
Ship
Since the end of the age of sail a ship has been any large buoyant marine vessel. Ships are generally distinguished from boats based on size and cargo or passenger capacity. Ships are used on lakes, seas, and rivers for a variety of activities, such as the transport of people or goods, fishing,...

s. They have been cutover since for timber and usually replaced with faster-growing Loblolly Pine
Loblolly Pine
Pinus taeda is one of several pines native to the Southeastern United States, from central Texas east to Florida, and north to Delaware. It is particularly dominant in the eastern half of North Carolina, where there are huge expanses consisting solely of Loblolly Pine trees...

 and Slash Pine, for agriculture
Agriculture
Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the...

, and for urban and suburban development. Due to this deforestation and over-harvesting, only about 3% of the original Longleaf Pine forest remains, and little new is planted. Longleaf Pine is available, however, at many nurseries within its range; the southernmost known point of sale is in Lake Worth
Lake Worth, Florida
Lake Worth is a city in Palm Beach County, Florida, which takes its name from the body of water along its eastern border, originally called "Lake Worth", and now generally known as the Lake Worth Lagoon. The lake itself was named for General William J. Worth, who led U.S. forces during the last...

, Florida
Florida
Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

.

The yellow, resin
Resin
Resin in the most specific use of the term is a hydrocarbon secretion of many plants, particularly coniferous trees. Resins are valued for their chemical properties and associated uses, such as the production of varnishes, adhesives, and food glazing agents; as an important source of raw materials...

ous wood
Wood
Wood is a hard, fibrous tissue found in many trees. It has been used for hundreds of thousands of years for both fuel and as a construction material. It is an organic material, a natural composite of cellulose fibers embedded in a matrix of lignin which resists compression...

 is used for lumber
Lumber
Lumber or timber is wood in any of its stages from felling through readiness for use as structural material for construction, or wood pulp for paper production....

 and pulp
Wood pulp
Pulp is a lignocellulosic fibrous material prepared by chemically or mechanically separating cellulose fibres from wood, fibre crops or waste paper. Wood pulp is the most common raw material in papermaking.-History:...

. Boards cut years ago from virgin timber
Timber
Timber may refer to:* Timber, a term common in the United Kingdom and Australia for wood materials * Timber, Oregon, an unincorporated community in the U.S...

 were very wide, up to 1 m (3.3 ft), and a thriving salvage business obtains these boards from demolition projects to be reused as flooring in upscale homes.

The extremely long needles are popular for use in the ancient craft of coiled basket making.

The stumps and taproots of old trees become saturated with resin and will not rot. Farmers sometimes find old buried stumps in fields, even in some that were cleared a century ago, and these usually are dug up and sold as Fatwood
Fatwood
Fatwood, also known as "fat lighter," "lighter wood", "rich lighter", "pine knot","heart pine" or "lighter'd" , is derived from the heartwood of pine trees. This resin-impregnated heartwood becomes hard and rot-resistant. The stump left in the ground after a tree has fallen or has been cut is an...

, "fat lighter" or "lighter wood" which is in demand as kindling for fireplaces, wood stoves, and barbecue pits. In old growth pine the heartwood of the bole
Bole
-Geographical locations:* Bole District, Ghana* Bole, Ghana, town* Bole, Nottinghamshire, England* Bole International Airport * Bole, Xinjiang, China-Other:* Bole2Harlem, an Ethiopian hip hop fusion band* Bole , a unit of momentum...

 is often saturated in the same way. When boards are cut from the fat lighter wood, they are very heavy and will not rot, but buildings constructed of them are quite flammable and make extremely hot fires.

The Longleaf Pine is the official state tree of Alabama
Alabama
Alabama is a state located in the southeastern region of the United States. It is bordered by Tennessee to the north, Georgia to the east, Florida and the Gulf of Mexico to the south, and Mississippi to the west. Alabama ranks 30th in total land area and ranks second in the size of its inland...

. North Carolina
North Carolina
North Carolina is a state located in the southeastern United States. The state borders South Carolina and Georgia to the south, Tennessee to the west and Virginia to the north. North Carolina contains 100 counties. Its capital is Raleigh, and its largest city is Charlotte...

's state tree is the pine tree generally and the Longleaf Pine specifically is lauded in the official state toast.

Longleaf Pine restoration


Before European settlement, the Longleaf Pine pine forest dominated as much as 90000000 acres (364,217.4 km²) stretching from Virginia
Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

 south to Florida
Florida
Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

 and west to eastern Texas
East Texas
East Texas is a distinct geographic and ecological area in the U.S. state of Texas.According to the Handbook of Texas, the East Texas area "may be separated from the rest of Texas roughly by a line extending from the Red River in north central Lamar County southwestward to east central Limestone...

. Its range was defined by the frequent widespread fires that occurred throughout the southeast. In the late 19th century, these virgin timber stands were "among the most sought after timber trees in the country."http://www.fws.gov/carolinasandhills/longleaf.html#demise This rich ecosystem now has been relegated to less than 5% of its pre-settlement range due to clear cutting practices:

As they stripped the woods of their trees, loggers left mounds of flammable debris that frequently fueled catastrophic fires, destroying both the remaining trees and seedlings. The exposed earth left behind by clear cutting operations was highly susceptible to erosion, and nutrients were washed from the already porous soils. This further destroyed the natural seeding process. At the peak of the timber cutting in the 1890s and the first decade of the new century, the longleaf pine forests of the Sandhills were providing millions of board feet of timber each year. The timber cutters gradually moved across the South; by the 1920s, most of the “limitless” virgin longleaf pine forests were gone.http://www.fws.gov/carolinasandhills/longleaf.html#demise



'In "pine barrens
Pine barrens
Pine barrens, pine plains, sand plains, or pinelands occur throughout the northeastern U.S. from New Jersey to Maine as well as the Midwest and Canada....

" most of the day. Low, level, sandy tracts; the pines wide apart; the sunny spaces between full of beautiful abounding grasses, liatris
Liatris
Liatris is a genus of ornamental plants in the Asteraceae family, native to North America, Mexico, and the Bahamas. These plants are used as a popular summer flowers for bouquets.They are perennials, surviving the winter in the form of corms....

, long, wand-like solidago
Goldenrod
Solidago, commonly called goldenrods, is a genus of about 100 species of flowering plants in the family Asteraceae. Most are herbaceous perennial species found in the meadows and pastures, along roads, ditches and waste areas in North America. There are also a few species native to Mexico, South...

, saw palmettos, etc., covering the ground in garden style. Here I sauntered in delightful freedom, meeting none of the cat-clawed vines, or shrubs, of the alluvial bottoms.'
- John Muir
John Muir
John Muir was a Scottish-born American naturalist, author, and early advocate of preservation of wilderness in the United States. His letters, essays, and books telling of his adventures in nature, especially in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California, have been read by millions...




Efforts are being made to restore Longleaf Pine ecosystems within its natural range. Some groups such as the Longleaf Alliance are actively promoting research, education, and management of the Longleaf Pine. In August 2009, the Alabama Forestry Commission received 1.757 million dollars in stimulus money to restore longleaf pines in state forests.
The United States Forest Service is conducting prescribed burning programs in the Francis Marion National Forest
Francis Marion National Forest
The Francis Marion National Forest is located north of Charleston, South Carolina. It is named for revolutionary war hero Francis Marion, who was known to the British as the Swamp Fox. It lies entirely within the Middle Atlantic coastal forests ecoregion....

, located outside of Charleston, South Carolina
Charleston, South Carolina
Charleston is the second largest city in the U.S. state of South Carolina. It was made the county seat of Charleston County in 1901 when Charleston County was founded. The city's original name was Charles Towne in 1670, and it moved to its present location from a location on the west bank of the...

. They are hoping to increase the Longleaf Pine forest type to 44700 acres (180.9 km²) by 2017 and 53500 acres (216.5 km²) in the long term. In addition to Longleaf restoration, prescribed burning will enhance the endangered Red-cockaded Woodpeckers' preferred habitat of open, park-like stands, provide habitat for wildlife dependent on grass-shrub habitat, which is very limited, and reduce the risk of damaging wildfires.

A 2009 study by the National Wildlife Federation says that Longleaf Pine forests will be particularly well adapted to environmental changes caused by global warming.