Pinus taeda, the Loblolly Pine

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Pinus taeda, the Loblolly pine, is probably the most common tree in the central Piedmont of North Carolina. (Okay, found a note saying that it “accounts for over one-half of the standing pine volume” which sounds pretty damn common.) Or if not the most common, at least it is damn common. They are large trees, getting well over 100 ft tall, but sort of skinny. They’re “self-pruning”, meaning they drop their lower branches as needed. So the trunk is nice and clean looking, with a poof of needly branches at the top above the roof of a two story building.

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The bark is as thick as the end of your finger, dependent upon finger size.

The cones are really spiky, oblong and about the size of an orange. It is the most painful cone to pick up locally.

The needles come bundled in threes and are a little longer than the cones.

The bark is dark and sort of reddish, and broken into scales larger than your hand. Unless you have really big hands.

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There aren’t many species of pines in North Carolina; learn Loblolly, Virginia, Shortleaf and Longleaf and you’re pretty much good.

And there you go.


“Pinus taeda.” Encyclopedia of Life, available from

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