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Pinus rigida

Common Name: 
Pitch Pine
Family: Pinaceae 

Collection Number:  368
Entry Author: Jeff Chichester
Description:  Medium sized often misshaped tree that varies in form, although a tall columnar bole and open crown are produced when favorable conditions prevail. 
Needles:  3 to 5 in. length, yellow-green color, in bundles of three.
Cones:  2 to 3.5 in. length, ovoid shape,  each scale ends in a sharp thorn.  Cones need two seasons to mature.
Bark:  Dark and scaly on young trees,  brownish yellow fissured appearance as tree matures.  Tufts of needles growing from bark is a characteristic of this species.
Height:  50 to 60 ft.
Life Span:  By the age of ninety growth in height ceases, maximum age can reach 200 years.
Conditions/Habitat/Kind of Forest:  Found on typically poor, dry, sandy soil that is often too sterile for most other trees, usually found in the company of gray birch, and scrub oak.
Range:  Eastern North America from southern New Brunswick, Canada, ranging south to northern Georgia in United States.
Ecological Interactions:  Cones open and disperse seeds at irregular intervals thus allowing  winter foraging of seeds by small mammals and birds.
Uses (Human):  Seedlings are widely produced for reforestation.  In early colonial times it was used to produce tar, and turpentine.


Harlow, W., Harrar, E., White, F.,  (1979).  Textbook of Dendrology.  New York:  McGraw Hill

Harlow, W.  (1942).  Trees of the Eastern and CentralUnited States and Canada.  New York:  Dover Publications Inc.


This page was created by: K. Rice, Muhlenberg College student, and J. Chichester, Northampton Community College
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Last updated 03/15/05