Trees of Alabama and the Southeast

Lisa Samuelson, Ph.D.
School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences
Auburn University

Pinus palustris

Needles are fascicled, in groups of 3, very long (about 17 inches long), drooping, evergreen, and flexible. Foliage is arranged in tufts on ends of stout branches. Twigs are red-brown and scaly with prominent silvery white buds. Bark is red-brown and plated. Cones are about 11 inches long, brown-gray and armed with prickles. Form is up to 37 m (121 ft) in height and 1 m (3 ft) in diameter. The seedlings can spend many years in a grass stage. Longleaf pine is the state tree of Alabama. This species is found on well-drained sandy soils and on swamp edges in the southeastern Coastal Plain and is intolerant of shade. The commercially important wood is used for pulpwood, plywood, poles and construction lumber. This tree was an important source of turpentine and resin. The foliage is used as pine straw. It is also an important nesting tree for the red-cockaded woodpecker.

Photographs by Mike Hogan.

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