Pinus echinata, the Shortleaf pine, is another common pine tree in the Piedmont. They are very similar to Loblolly pines. Both trees are tall, thin and have no branches on the lower part of the tree. The easiest way to discern between the two is to find a cone, but this can be annoying if a tree of each species is next to each other, what with the cones falling and rolling about. Anyway, here’s three ways to differentiate between the two:
1. Shortleaf pines have smaller cones than Loblollies and are not spiky. You could throw them at somebody and it would be just annoying, but no blood would be involved. Loblolly tossing will get you cussed at.
2. Shortleaf bark sometimes has these cool little zit like bodies called pitch pockets. But not always. Sometimes they will ooze. But not always. It is also thinner. You cannot hide a the end of your finger in it. Loblolly bark is thick and corky, and doesn’t have any acne issues.
3. Shortleaf (two syllables) has two needles bundled together. Loblolly (three syllables) has three needles bundled together.
Now you’re good as long as the forest is only allowed to have two species of tree.
“Pinus echinata.” Encyclopedia of Life, available from http://www.eol.org/pages/1033598/overview. Accessed January 18, 2016.