Pitch pine

Silhouette - pitch pine
  • Latin name: Pinus rigida Mill.
  • French name: Pin rigide
  • Taxonomic Serial Number: 183376
Description

Leaves

  • Needle cross section - pitch pine
  • Needle bundle - pitch pine

Form

  • Needles evergreen
  • In bundles of 3
  • Stiff, twisted, blunt-tipped
  • Edges sharply toothed
  • Bundle-sheath persistent

Length

  • 7–12 cm

Colour

  • Yellowish-green

Buds

  • Terminal and subterminal buds - pitch pine

Form

  • Sharp-pointed, often resinous
  • Scales loose, overlapping

Length

  • About 1 cm

Colour

  • Reddish-brown

Twigs

Form

  • Stout, hairless
  • Ridged and grooved
  • Often in clusters along the trunk

Colour

  • Greenish to orange or dark brown

Seed cones (mature)

Form

  • Narrowly ovoid, short-stalked
  • Scales thickened at the tips
  • Bearing a rigid, curved, sharp spine

Length

  • 5–9 cm

Timing

  • Cones may open at maturity
  • Remain closed until opened by fire, or open at irregular intervals
  • Open cones remain on the tree for many years

Seeds

Form

  • 3-angled

Length

  • Seed 4–5 mm
  • Seed wing 15–20 mm

Seedlings

Form

  • 4–8 cotyledons, toothless

Bark

Form

  • Smooth becoming scaly
  • Furrowed into large, thick, irregular, flat-topped plates with age

Colour

  • Reddish-brown, becoming dark grey with age

Wood

Texture

  • Resinous

Morphology

  • Coarse-grained

Size

Height

  • To 20 m

Diameter

  • To 30 cm

Maximum age

  • 200 years

Tree form

  • Silhouette - pitch pine

Open-grown

Crown

  • Irregular
  • With many gnarled, drooping, often dead branches
  • Covered with clusters of old weathered cones

Forest-grown

Trunk

  • Straight, with little taper
  • Often with clusters of closely packed leafy branchlets, bearing persistent seed cones that appear to be attached directly to the trunk

Crown

  • Regular

Root system

  • Deep, to 3 m
  • Able to live and grow below the water table

Habitat

Site

  • Harsh sites such as dry sand plains, gravelly slopes, rocky ridges, and swamps

Light tolerance

  • Intolerant of shade

Associated species

  • Grows in pure stands in areas subject to repeated forest fires
  • Also mixed with other species in open stands

Range

Eastern Canada, restricted to sites along the St. Lawrence River

Insects and diseases

Insects and diseases that are found most frequently and/or that cause the most damage in our Canadian forests.

Photos
  • Pitch pine
  • Pitch pine
  • Pitch pine
  • Pitch pine
  • Pitch pine
  • Pitch pine
Distribution map
Distribution map - pitch pine
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