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Loblolly Pine

Pinus taeda

Loblolly pines are very common along the edges of the Chesapeake Bay and its tidal rivers and wetlands.
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Loblolly pines are very common along the edges of the Chesapeake Bay and its tidal rivers and wetlands.

The loblolly pine is a tall evergreen tree with long, thin needles and scaly bark. It grows along the edges of the Chesapeake Bay and its tidal rivers and wetlands.

Appearance:

  • Long, thin, dark green or greenish-yellow needles that grow in bundles of three
  • Brown, oval cones that grow to 3-6 inches and have short thorns
  • Dark brown or brownish-red bark. As the tree matures, the bark separates into scaly, deeply furrowed plates.
  • Tall, straight trunk with no knots for up to 30 feet high
  • Grows to 70-90 feet tall

Habitat:

  • Grows in a variety of soils, from dry upland areas to poorly drained lowlands
  • Very common along the edges of the Chesapeake Bay and its tidal rivers and wetlands
  • One of the first trees that will colonize marshes and abandoned fields

Range:

  • Grows throughout the Bay’s coastal plain, including Delaware, Maryland and Virginia
  • Rare north of the Bay

Reproduction and Life Cycle:

  • Reproductive buds form in June and flower in July-August
  • Male and female buds develop in October, but remain dormant until early February.
  • Male buds are about one inch long and are greenish, yellowish or reddish. They form clusters on the previous year’s growth.
  • Female buds are oval-shaped and slightly smaller. They form on new growth and are fertilized the following spring.
  • Cones, which contain the tree’s seeds, mature by the second October after flowering begins
  • Can live as long as 275 years

Other Facts:

  • Provides important habitat for wildlife, particularly bald eagles
  • Early colonists boiled loblolly pine resin into pitch or tar to preserve wooden boats and ship riggings
  • Loblolly pines are considered the most commercially valuable type of wood in the southern United States. They are used for pulp, mulch and timber.

Sources and Additional Information:




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