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Pinus palustris (Longleaf pine)
Cressler, Alan

Pinus palustris

Pinus palustris Mill.

Longleaf Pine, Georgia Pine, Longleaf Yellow Pine, Southern Yellow Pine, Longstraw Pine, Hill Pine, Hard Pine, Heart Pine

Pinaceae (Pine Family)

Synonym(s): Pinus australis

USDA Symbol: PIPA2

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

Longleaf pine is an 80-100 ft., sometimes taller, tree with short, stout, spare branches forming an open, irregular crown. A new level of branches is added each year. Long, bright green needles, the longest of any eastern North American pine, occur in dense bundles of three. The cones are also the largest of any pine in eastern North America. Mature specimens provide high, airy, fragrant canopies. Seedlings pass through a "grass" stage for a few years, in which the stem grows in thickness rather than height and the taproot develops rapidly. Later, the elongating, unbranched stem produces very long needles, which give a bunchgrass-like appearance when they're still close to the ground.

Frequent fires caused by man or by lightning have perpetuated subclimax, pure stands of this species and in the past helped maintain a distinct Southeastern ecosystem known as Longleaf Pine Savannah, which once covered a vast area from eastern Texas to the Atlantic coast in park-like groves of massive specimens, plus associated, fire-adapted plants like Pineland Three-Awn (Aristida stricta). Longleaf Pine is a leading world producer of naval stores. The trees are tapped for turpentine and resin and then logged for construction lumber, poles and pilings, and pulpwood.


From the Image Gallery

31 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Tree
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Leaf Arrangement: Fascicled
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Shape: Linear
Breeding System: Flowers Unisexual , Monoecious
Fruit Type: Cone
Size Notes: Up to about 150 feet tall.
Leaf: Dark Green

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Brown
Bloom Time: Jan , Dec


USA: AL , AR , FL , GA , LA , MS , NC , SC , TX , VA
Native Distribution: Coastal Plain from s.e. VA to c. FL & w. to e. TX
Native Habitat: Open, dry habitats; sand ridges; coastal plains

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Soil Description: Deep, coarse, sandy soils. Sandy, Sandy Loam, Acid-based.
Conditions Comments: This stately pine tolerates seasonally poor drainage and is resistant to fusiform rust, a serious disease of other pines. Longleaf is a slow-growing pine.


Description: Sow fresh, untreated seed in late fall.
Seed Collection: Collect cones from vigorous trees in late summer and fall just before they completely open to drop seeds. Spread cones on racks to dry so they will release seeds. Cones may be shaken to release seeds. Store at a moisture content of 5-10 % fresh weight.
Commercially Avail: yes
Maintenance: Prevent complete soil dryness, Prune to maintain shape, Remove dead growth, Fertilize 3 times a year with lawn fertilizer 3:1:2 ratio

Find Seed or Plants

View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.

National Wetland Indicator Status

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 Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Crosby Arboretum - Picayune, MS
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department - Austin, TX
Wellspring Organic Farm and Education Center - West Bend, WI


Bibref 766 - Dale Groom's Texas Gardening Guide (2002) Groom, D.
Bibref 298 - Field Guide to Texas Trees (1999) Simpson, B.J.
Bibref 1620 - Gardening with Native Plants of the South (Reprint Edition) (2009) Wasowski, S. with A. Wasowski
Bibref 318 - Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region (2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski

Search More Titles in Bibliography

From the Archive

Wildflower Newsletter 1995 VOL. 12, NO.6 - Mission in Review, Fire and Landscape Ecology, The Little House, Essays on the B...

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2022-09-21
Research By: TWC Staff

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