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Pinus Linnaeus. Pine.

Key to Pinus

A genus of about 110 species, trees, of the Northern Hemisphere, south to Central America. The classification of subgenera, sections, and subsections follows Zeb et al. (2019). Additional clades within subsection Australes follow Cruz-Nicolás, Jaramillo-Correa, & Gernandt (2024). The Elliottii clade consists of Pinus palustris, P. elliottii, and P. densa (in our region), P. occidentalis and P. cubensis (in Cuba and Hispaniola), and presumably P. caribaea. The Taeda clade consists of P. taeda, P. echinata, P. rigida, P. serotina, and P. glabra.

The State Tree of North Carolina is the “Pine,” the species left (artfully and politically?) ambiguous.

Key advice:The number of needles per fascicle is an important characteristic, as well as the length and stoutness of the needles. Young saplings generally have shorter needles than larger saplings and mature trees; measurements in the key are those of mature trees. Seedlings have needles single, rather than fascicled; see Krings (2020) for information on distinguishing seedlings of P. taeda, P. echinata, and P. virginiana. “Cones” in the key below refers to mature (brown) female (seed) cones.

Ref: Cruz-Nicolás, Jaramillo-Correa, & Gernandt (2024); Duncan & Duncan (1988); Gernandt et al. (2005); Kral (1993) In Flora of North America Editorial Committee (1993b); Krings (2020); Page In Kramer & Green (1990); Pile et al. (2018); Price, Liston, & Strauss (1998); Richardson (1998); Silba (2011); Wang & Wang (2014); Ward (1963); Zeb et al. (2019). Show full citations.

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image of plant© Keith Bradley | Pinus echinata | Original Image ⭷
image of plant© Gary P. Fleming | Pinus pungens | Original Image ⭷
image of plant© Scott Ward | Original Image ⭷
image of plant© Keith Bradley | Pinus rigida | Original Image ⭷
image of plant© Keith Bradley | Pinus serotina | Original Image ⭷
image of plant© Keith Bradley | Original Image ⭷
image of plant© Gary P. Fleming | Pinus echinata | Original Image ⭷

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