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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.
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 on the loblolly pine in bundles of three. The tree's brown, oval cones grow to 3 to 6 inches and have short thorns. Its bark is dark brown or brownish-red bark and separates into scaly, deeply furrowed plates as the tree matures. Its tall, straight trunk has no knots for up to 30 feet high. Loblolly pines will grow 70 to 90 feet tall.

Habitat:

Grow in a variety of soils, from dry upland areas to poorly drained lowlands. 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:

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 to 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. Loblolly pines can live as long as 275 years.

Other Facts:

  • The loblolly pine 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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