Pinus serotina Michaux. Subgenus: Pinus. Section: Trifoliae. Subsection: Australes. Phen: Apr; Aug (or at any time of year in response to fire). Hab: Peaty soils of pocosins, swamps of small blackwater streams, sometimes a component of very wet pine savannas over an herbaceous groundlayer, but usually associated with dense pocosin shrubs. Dist: A Southeastern Coastal Plain endemic: s. NJ south to n. FL and se. AL, restricted to the Coastal Plain.
ID notes:Even when well-developed, the trunk is typically twisted and gnarled, helping to distinguish it from P. taeda.
Origin/Endemic status: Endemic
Other Comments: A remarkable tree, well-adapted to fire by its serotinous cones and its ability to resprout needles from the branches, trunk (‘epicormic sprouting’), or roots following fire. Extensive areas of peatland in the outer Coastal Plain are dominated by P. serotina, sometimes codominant with Gordonia lasianthus. Following fires which destroy all branches but do not kill the trees, epicormic sprouting results in entire forests of odd-looking cylindrical pines, the trunk thickly beset with needles, the outline of the tree a narrow cylinder 10-20 meters tall and less than 1 meter in diameter from base to summit. P. serotina is clearly a southern relative of P. rigida. It normally occurs in fire-maintained wetlands associated with (‘downhill’ from) P. palustris. On deep peats, P. serotina is stunted and of very irregular form; on mineral or shallower organic soils it can reach large size.
Synonymy: = C, F, Fl1, FNA2, G, K1, K3, K4, RAB, S, S13, Tat, Va, WH3, Price (1989), Ward (1963); = Pinus rigida Mill. ssp. serotina (Michx.) Clausen