Pinus taeda

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A loblolly pine found at Nag's Head Woods, surrounded by several others.

Loblolly Pine - Pinus taeda

Habitat Bottomland forests and flatlands; prefers moderately drained acidic soil but can grow in a variety of soil conditions, will readily take over abandoned fields, embankments, and riverlands.

Range Predominantly occurs in the Southeastern United States along the Atlantic Coast from New Jersey to east Texas.

Description The trees can grow to be up to 90 feet tall with the branches forming a pyramidal shape. The trees lose their lowermost branches as they age, often living to be 150 to 300 years old. The needles are several inches long and can come in various shades of emerald to yellow-green depending on the season. Typically needles will grow in bundles of three but rarely can be found in bundles of two; the cones are long and cylindrical. The bark is scaly and can range from grey to reddish-brown, often gaining ridges and deep crevices over time.

Ecological Notes Occurring in a wide variety of habitats, loblolly pines are known for their rapid growth and ability to spread. Because of this they can play a major part in the botanic structure of the areas in which they are found, often dominating over any other tree species present. Loblollies are used by several animals such as deer, squirrels, pine warblers, and red-cockaded woodpeckers as both a shelter and a food source. They are often planted for erosion control but are also popularly used for lumber and pulp.

Personal Information Loblolly pines are a common sight in the Outer Banks and can be found in or near most places. Several of the trees at Nag's Head Woods were loblolly pines and one could see from the top of Jockey's Ridge how they stretch along the border of the sand dunes. Because of their abundance loblollies were also often seen in passing along the roads.

Journal Articles For information on loblolly pines, please see the following:

Jill L. Wegrzyn et. al, "Unique Features of the Loblolly Pine (Pinus Taeda L.) Megagenome Revealed Through Sequence Annotation." GENETICS March 1, 2014 vol. 196 no. 3 891-909;

While being the largest genus in the Conifer family, due to their genetic complexity they are poorly sequenced and there are few references for use as a result. This study is the first to fully sequence the loblolly pine, acting as a pioneer for future genetic work in the genus.

Bekele, A.; Hundall, W.H.; Tiarks, A.E. 1999. "Vector Analysis Identify Loblolly Pine (Pinus taeda L.) Phosphorus Deficiency on a Beauregard Soil." Paper presented at the Tenth Biennial Southern Silvicultural Research Conference, Shreveport, LA, February 16-16, 1999.

The response of loblolly pines to phosphorous and nitrogen fertilizers in soil was examined, adding to the understanding of how soil content impacts loblly pine growth.


Contributed by Emily Nicholls - 2018

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