En EspaŅol
Pinus rigida (Pitch pine) | NPIN
Share

NPIN: Native Plant Database

Search for native plants by scientific name, common name or family. If you are not sure what you are looking for, try the Combination Search or our Recommended Species lists.

Search native plant database:
Name:    
Family:    
See a list of all Plants





Pinus rigida (Pitch pine)
Makin, Julie

Pinus rigida

Pinus rigida Mill.

Pitch pine, Torch pine

Pinaceae (Pine Family)

Synonym(s):

USDA Symbol: piri

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

Pitch pine is a 40-70 ft. evergreen with an irregular, globular form; twisting, gnarled, drooping branches; and scaly, reddish-brown bark which eventually becomes black. Stiff, yellow-green needles, in clusters of three, eventually turn dark-green. Medium-sized tree often bearing tufts of needles on trunk, with a broad, rounded or irregular crown of horizontal branches. Cones occur in whorls of 3-5.

Now used principally for lumber and pulpwood, Pitch Pine was once a source of resin. Colonists produced turpentine and tar used for axle grease from this species before naval stores were developed from the southern pines. Pine knots, when fastened to a pole, served as torches at night. The common name refers to the high resin content of the knotty wood. Pitch Pine is suitable for planting on dry rocky soil that other trees cannot tolerate, becoming open and irregular in shape in exposed situations. This hardy species is resistant to fire and injury, forming sprouts from roots and stumps. It is the pine at Cape Cod; and the New Jersey pine barrens are composed of dwarf sprouts of Pitch Pine following repeated fires.

 

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Tree
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Shape: Linear
Leaf: Yellow-Green
Fruit: Brown
Size Class: 72-100 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Green
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May

Distribution

USA: CT , DC , DE , GA , IL , IN , KY , MA , MD , ME , MN , NC , NH , NJ , NY , OH , PA , RI , SC , TN , VA , VT , WV
Canada: ON , QC
Native Distribution: S. ME to e. OH, s. to VA & mts. of TN, GA & KY; also local in extreme s. Que. & s.e. Ont.
Native Habitat: Dry, rocky or sandy mt. sites; peaty, coastal swamps

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Soil Description: Dry, rocky or sandy soil.
Conditions Comments: This species is often dwarfed on exposed sites, while in better conditions a tall trunk may develop. Adapts to the driest, most unproductive sites, yet is also found in coastal swamps. Salt tolerant. Intolerant of competition from other trees.

Benefit

Use Wildlife: Twigs, leaves and seeds are important wildlife food.
Use Other: Pitch pine has been used to reforest bare, sandy soils and worn-out land. It takes about 5 years to establish but then grows rapidly on very poor soils. (Kershaw)

Restricted to sites along the St. Lawrence River. Dependent on forest fires for reproduction. (Farrar)
Attracts: Birds

Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)

Pinus rigida is a larval host and/or nectar source for:
Pine-devil Moth
(Citheronia sepulcralis)

Larval Host
Learn more at BAMONA

Propagation

Description: Propagate by seed.
Seed Collection: Not Available
Seed Treatment: Seeds require no pretreatment.
Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.

National Wetland Indicator Status

Region:AGCPAKAWCBEMPGPHIMWNCNEWMVE
Status: FACU FACU FACU FACU
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Suppliers Directory

According to the inventory provided by Associate Suppliers, this plant is available at the following locations:

Edge of the Woods Native Plant Nursery - Orefield, PA
American Native Nursery - Quakertown, PA

Bibliography

Bibref 1186 - Field Guide to Moths of Eastern North America (2005) Covell, C.V., Jr.
Bibref 1185 - Field Guide to Western Butterflies (Peterson Field Guides) (1999) Opler, P.A. and A.B. Wright

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Additional resources

USDA: Find Pinus rigida in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Pinus rigida in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Pinus rigida

Metadata

Record Modified: 2013-10-11
Research By: TWC Staff

Go back

E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center