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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 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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