Longleaf pine once dominated the southeastern United States, but it has now been reduced to about 10 percent of its original coverage.
The tree has bright green, long, flexible needles, giving it almost a "weeping effect." They can reach 110 feet in height in good soil and the bark is thick, reddish-brown, and scaly.
The longleaf pine is one of the two southeastern pines with long needles, the other being the slash pine. Longleaf pines take 100 to 150 years to become full size and can live to 500 years old under the best conditions. They grow on well-drained, usually sandy soil, often in pure stands.
The longleaf pine's natural range spans the coastal plain: from eastern Texas to southeast Virginia extending into northern and central Florida. A wide variety of native wildlife depends on the longleaf pine ecosystem, including Florida mice, gopher frogs, and eastern diamond-back rattlesnakes.
Also on Gardening in a Minute
- Longleaf Pine--Mississippi State University Extension Service
- Longleaf Pine--USDA Forest Service
- Longleaf Pine--Virginia Tech Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation
- Longleaf Pine Ecosystem Restoration Private Landowner Incentive Program--Florida Division of Forestry
- The Longleaf Pine Fireforest--Longleaf Alliance
- The Longleaf Pine/Wiregrass Ecosystem--Carolina Sandhills Natural Wildlife Refuge
- Official Alabama Tree: Southern Longleaf Pine--Alabama Department of Archives and History