Pinus taeda (Sp '15)

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Latin Name

Pinus taeda

Common Name(s)

There are a few common names for P. taeda. These include: Loblolly pine, North Carolina pine, oldfield pine, bull pine, rosemary pine. Commonly called "taeda" when used in plantation forestry outside its native range.

Plant Family


Tree Description


P. taeda can reach a height of 90 to 115 feet


P. taeda is an evergreen tree


P. taeda is an evergreen tree bearing cones and needles. The tree has a cylindrical trunk measuring 2 to 3 feet in diameter. When mature, the majority of the branches are located at the very top of the tree, leaving the bottom to be branch-free. The tree itself grows upright, without any occurrence of leaning towards a particular angle

Leaf Description

The leaves of P. taeda usually occur in bundles of 3 to 4 needles that are spirally arranged, linear, and measuring 12 to 22 cm long. The needles are pale green in color, and have a slender, stiff appearance.

Needles IV.jpg Needles.jpg

Seed Description

Seed cones are in small clusters, 6-12 cm. Seeds are red brown and obteloid, usually 5-6 mm. Seed production of individual trees increases with tree age, size, and freedom from crown competition. By age 25, enough seeds may be produced in widely spaced trees to regenerate a stand; however, trees at 40 years generally produce three to five times more. Rotations shorter than 30 years usually do not lend themselves to natural regeneration.

Pine Cone Description

P. taeda is a monoecious species, housing both the female and male cones. Female cones are larger with spirally arranged scales, having two winged seeds on each scale. The cones are usually 2 to 6 inches long, with a light red/brown color, and have prickles at the tip of each scale. Male cones are smaller, ranging from 0.5 to 6 cm long. The cones are yellow and have a catkin-like shape to them.

Female cones I.jpg
Female cones II.jpg Female cones.jpg

Pollen cone I.jpg
Pollen cone.JPG Pollen cone II.jpg

Bark Description

The mature bark is fairly thick, with a bright red to brown color. The bark is normally free of large knots and is divided into shallow, scale-like fissures that seem to layer as it broadens.

Bark II.jpg

Distinguishing Characteristics:

Trees grow to a height of 46 m; trunk diameter can grow to 160 cm. Tree growth is usually straight, without adventitious shoots. Bark is mostly red-brown, forming square or irregular rectangular scaly plates, resin pockets are absent. Leaves: 2-3 needles per fascicle, ascending to spreading, persisting 3 years, narrow stomatal lines, margins finely serrulate, apex acute to abruptly conic-subulate. Seed cones mature in 2 years, appear solitary or in small clusters, nearly terminal, symmetric, lanceoloid before opening, narrowly ovoid when open, 6-12 cm, mostly dull yellow-brown, sessile to nearly sessile, scales without dark border on adaxial surface distally; apophyses dull, slightly thickened, variously raised (more so toward cone base), rhombic, strongly transversely keeled; umbo central, recurved, stoutly pyramidal, tapering to stout-based, sharp prickle. Seeds are red-brown and obdeltoid with size of 5-6 mm.

Location of P. taedas on GGC's Campus

GGC loblolly.JPG


P. taeda is commonly found in the South Eastern United States and is widely distributed on the Atlantic Coastal Plain. Its distrubution extends into the plateaus and foothills around the Southern Appalachians but avoids the Mississippi floodplain. Preferred climate is warm-temperate and moist, with mild winters and long, hot summers. Annual precipitation is between 1,000 and 1,500 mm. Ideal conditions for mature P. taeda consist of direct sunlight, but can also tolerate shade when young. The evergreen trees can reside in various landscapes such as lowlands and swampy areas, the Coastal Plains, Piedmont hills, and Highlands. P. taeda can form pure stands resulting from pioneer invasions after forest disturbance or onto abandoned fields. In addition, it can persist mixed pine-dominated forests with several other species of Pinus. It is also a component of forest types dominated by broad-leaved trees, especially species of oak (Quercus spp.) as well as Acer rubrum, Liriodendron tulipifera, Fagus grandifolia, Fraxinus spp., and Diospyros virginiana in upland sites. In the coastal swamplands Magnolia grandiflora, Nyssa aquatica, Quercus michauxii, Carya aquatica, and Ulmus americana are common associates of P. taeda, together with other pines and an undergrowth of shrubs and palmettos (dwarf palms)

Historic Range

Pinus Taeda is native in United States. Specifically in Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia. Endemic to the southeastern USA: occurring from Delaware and New Jersey to central Florida and eastern Texas.

Range Map

Pinus range map.png

Cultural Information

Loblolly Pine is commercially the most important pine to the southern region of United States. It makes up over half of the standing pine volume. Loblolly pine is very much used in plantation forestry due to its fast growing abilities. The sawn wood properties are not that beneficial to the construction and manufacture companies, thus it is mostly used in the wood pulp industry for paper and other long fibre products. In urban settings the species are used as shelterbelt trees and for soil stabilization, again due to its rapid growth. P. taeda has been investigated for its sustainability as a biomass producer for generation of energy. Plantations for this purpose are now being exploited and its use may well increase in future. Loblolly Pine has also been introduced in many countries and is grown in forestry plantations on a large scale in South Africa, Brazil, China, Australia, and New Zealand. This species is little used in horticulture (except the use of leaf litter as a mulch); more northern provenances may well be hardy to light frosts.

This page was created by:

Michelle Perdomo and Anna Sarkisova

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