Pitch Pine (Pinus rigida)

Pitch Pine (Pinus rigida)

The Pitch Pine (Pinus rigida) is an evergreen conifer in the Pine Family (Pinaceae) and order Pinales. The order, family and genus name is from the Latin for "pine tree" (pinus). The species name is from the Latin for "rough or rigid." Early settlers used the pitch from this tree to make turpentine and tar. Currently, this tree is used for lumber and pulpwood. The photographs on this page were taken in the Wonderland section of Acadia National Park. This tree thrives in dry, rocky soil.

The Pitch Pine grows to a height of 60 feet (18 meters). The crown is normally broad and rounded but the shape of a Pitch Pine is variable. The yellow-green needles are from three to five inches (7.5 to 13 centimeters) long in fascicles (bundles) of three. A given needle will remain on a tree for two to three years. Therefore, this tree may have a large number of brown needles about to fall off. The bark is gray, very thick, rough and deeply furrowed. The inner bark is brown.

Pitch Pine (Pinus rigida) Bark

The cones are egg-shaped, yellow-brown and from 1¼ to 2¾ inches (3 to 7 centimeters) long. The cone scales have sharp prickles as shown in the photograph below. The fruit is a brown seed. There are 62,080 seeds to a pound (0.45 kilograms)

Pitch Pine (Pinus rigida) Cones

The minimum root depth is 20 inches (51 centimeters).

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