|Trees at Richmond National Battlefield Park|
Trees at Richmond National Battlefield Park
Pinus taeda (Loblolly Pine) is one of several pines native to the southeastern United States. The trees reach a height of 30-35 m (100-115 ft) with a diameter of 0.4-1.5 m (1.5-5 ft). Exceptional specimens may reach 45 m (150 ft) tall, the largest of the southern pines. Its needles are in bundles of three, sometimes twisted, and measure 12-22 cm (5-9 inches) long: an intermediate length for southern pines, shorter than those of the Longleaf Pine or Slash Pine, but longer than those of the Shortleaf Pine and Spruce Pine. The cones are green, ripening pale buff-brown, 7-13 cm (3-5 inches) in length, 2-3 cm (0.8-1.2inches) broad when closed, opening to 4-6 cm (1.5-2.5 inches) wide, each scale bearing a sharp 3-6 mm spine.
The name loblolly means a low wet place, but these trees are not limited to that specific habitat. Other old names, now rarely used, include: Oldfield Pine, due to loblolly's status as an early colonizer of abandoned fields; Bull Pine, due to its size (several other yellow pines are also often so named, especially large isolated specimens); and Rosemary Pine, due to loblolly's distinctive fragrance compared to the other southern pines (the fragrance is more akin to that of gin than rosemary).
With the advent of fire control, Loblolly Pines have come to dominate areas in the deep south that were once populated with greater numbers of Longleaf Pine and, especially in Florida, Slash Pine. Loblolly's rate of growth is rapid, even among the generally fast-growing southern pines. The yellowish, resinous wood is highly prized for lumber, but is also used for pulp fibers. This tree is commercially grown in extensive plantations, along with Slash Pine.
Although Loblolly Pine grows primarily in the deep south, it ranges north along the mid-Atlantic coast to southern New Jersey, in the interior north to extreme southeastern and southwestern Kentucky, and as far west as the southeast corner of Oklahoma and central Texas. Loblolly Pine is the pine of the "Lost Pines" area around Bastrop, Texas and in McKinney Roughs along the Texas Colorado River. These are isolated populations on areas of acidic sandy soil, surrounded by alkaline clays that are poor for pine growth.
The famous "Eisenhower Tree" on the 17th hole of Augusta National Golf Club is a loblolly pine. U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, an Augusta National member, hit the tree so many times that, at a 1956 club meeting, he proposed that it be cut down. Not wanting to offend the President, the club's chairman, Clifford Roberts, immediately adjourned the meeting rather than reject the request outright.
- Conifer Specialist Group (1998). Pinus taeda. 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. Retrieved on 12 May 2006.
- Flora of North America: Pinus taeda
- Pinus taeda images at bioimages.vanderbilt.edu
- Higher atmospheric carbon dioxide levels may help the loblolly pine endure ice storms - LiveScience.com
Loblolly Pine Calculator,<the work of a Princeton University Student>