Pinus taeda

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Pinus taeda
Loblolly Pines South Mississippi.JPG
Characteristic appearance of loblolly pines, south Mississippi, USA
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pinophyta
Class: Pinopsida
Order: Pinales
Family: Pinaceae
Genus: Pinus
Subgenus: P. subg. Pinus
Section: P. sect. Trifoliae
Subsection: P. subsect. Australes
P. taeda
Binomial name
Pinus taeda
Pinus taeda distribution map.png
Natural range of loblolly pine

Pinus taeda, commonly known as loblolly pine, is one of several pines native to the Southeastern United States, from central Texas east to Florida, and north to Delaware and southern New Jersey. [2] The wood industry classifies the species as a southern yellow pine. [3] U.S. Forest Service surveys found that loblolly pine is the second-most common species of tree in the United States, after red maple. [4] For its timber, the pine species is regarded as the most commercially important tree in Southeastern US. [5] [6] [7]

Pine genus of plants

A pine is any conifer in the genus Pinus of the family Pinaceae. Pinus is the sole genus in the subfamily Pinoideae. The Plant List compiled by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and Missouri Botanical Garden accepts 126 species names of pines as current, together with 35 unresolved species and many more synonyms.

Southeastern United States Region

The Southeastern United States is broadly, the eastern portion of the Southern United States, and the southern portion of the Eastern United States. It comprises at least a core of states on the lower Atlantic seaboard and eastern Gulf Coast. Expansively, it includes everything south of the Mason-Dixon line, the Ohio River and the 36°30' parallel, and as far west as Arkansas and Louisiana. There is no official U.S. government definition of the region, though various agencies and departments use different definitions.

Texas State of the United States of America

Texas is the second largest state in the United States by both area and population. Geographically located in the South Central region of the country, Texas shares borders with the U.S. states of Louisiana to the east, Arkansas to the northeast, Oklahoma to the north, New Mexico to the west, and the Mexican states of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León, and Tamaulipas to the southwest, while the Gulf of Mexico is to the southeast.


The common name loblolly is given because the pine species is found mostly in lowlands and swampy areas. [8]

Loblolly pine is the first among over 100 species of Pinus to have its complete genome sequenced. As of March 2014, it was the organism having the largest sequenced genome size. Its genome, with 22 billion base pairs, is seven times larger than that of humans. [9] [10] As of 2018, assembly of the Axolotl genome (32Gb) displaced loblolly pine as the largest assembled genome. [11]

Human genome complete set of nucleic acid sequence for humans

The human genome is the complete set of nucleic acid sequences for humans, encoded as DNA within the 23 chromosome pairs in cell nuclei and in a small DNA molecule found within individual mitochondria. These are usually treated separately as the nuclear genome, and the mitochondrial genome. Human genomes include both protein-coding DNA genes and noncoding DNA. Haploid human genomes, which are contained in germ cells consist of three billion DNA base pairs, while diploid genomes have twice the DNA content. While there are significant differences among the genomes of human individuals, these are considerably smaller than the differences between humans and their closest living relatives, the chimpanzees and bonobos.

Axolotl salamander

The axolotl, Ambystoma mexicanum, also known as the Mexican walking fish, is a neotenic salamander related to the tiger salamander. Although the axolotl is colloquially known as a "walking fish", it is not a fish, but an amphibian. The species was originally found in several lakes, such as Lake Xochimilco underlying Mexico City. Axolotls are unusual among amphibians in that they reach adulthood without undergoing metamorphosis. Instead of developing lungs and taking to the land, adults remain aquatic and gilled.


Developing male cones and needles Loblolly Pine.jpg
Developing male cones and needles

Loblolly pine can reach a height of 30–35 m (98–115 ft) with a diameter of 0.4–1.5 m (1.3–4.9 ft). Exceptional specimens may reach 50 m (160 ft) tall, the largest of the southern pines. Its needles are in bundles of three, sometimes twisted, and measure 12–22 cm (4 348 34 in) long, an intermediate length for southern pines, shorter than those of the longleaf pine or slash pine, but longer than those of the shortleaf pine and spruce pine. The needles usually last up to two years before they fall, which gives the species its evergreen character. Although some needles fall throughout the year due to severe weather, insect damage, and drought, most needles fall during the autumn and winter of their second year. The seed cones are green, ripening pale buff-brown, 7–13 cm (2 34–5 in) in length, 2–3 cm (341 14 in) broad when closed, opening to 4–6 cm (1 122 14 in) wide, each scale bearing a sharp spine 3 to 6 mm (0.12 to 0.24 in) long. [2] [12]

Longleaf pine species of plant

The longleaf pine is a pine native to the Southeastern United States, found along the coastal plain from East Texas to southern Maryland, extending into northern and central Florida. It reaches a height of 30–35 m (98–115 ft) and a diameter of 0.7 m (28 in). In the past, before extensive logging, they reportedly grew to 47 m (154 ft) with a diameter of 1.2 m (47 in). The tree is a cultural symbol of the Southern United States, being the official state tree of Alabama and the unofficial state tree of North Carolina.

<i>Pinus echinata</i> species of plant

Pinus echinata, the shortleaf pine, is a species of pine native to the eastern United States from southernmost New York State, south to northern Florida, west to eastern Oklahoma, and southwest to eastern Texas. The tree is variable in form, sometimes straight, sometimes crooked, with an irregular crown. This tree reaches heights of 20–30 metres (65–100 ft) with a trunk diameter of 0.5–0.9 metres.

<i>Pinus glabra</i> species of plant

Pinus glabra, the spruce pine, is a tree found on the coastal plains of the southern United States, from southern South Carolina south to northern Florida and west to southern Louisiana. This pine is a straight-growing, medium-sized species, attaining heights of 20–40 m.

The tallest loblolly pine currently known, which is 51.4 m (169 ft) tall, and the largest, which measures 42 m3 (1,500 cu ft) in volume, are in Congaree National Park. [13]

Congaree National Park national park located in South Carolina

Congaree National Park is a 26,276-acre American national park in central South Carolina. The park received its official designation in 2003 as the culmination of a grassroots campaign that began in 1969. The park preserves the largest tract of old growth bottomland hardwood forest left in the United States. The lush trees growing in its floodplain forest are some of the tallest in the eastern United States, forming one of the highest temperate deciduous forest canopies remaining in the world. The Congaree River flows through the park. About 15,000 acres are designated as a wilderness area.

Taxonomy and naming

Mature unopened female cones Pinus taeda cones.jpg
Mature unopened female cones

The word "loblolly" is a combination of "lob", referring to thick, heavy bubbling of cooking porridge, and "lolly", an old British dialect word for broth, soup, or any other food boiled in a pot. In the southern United States, the word is used to mean "a mudhole; a mire," a sense derived from an allusion to the consistency of porridge. Hence, the pine is named as it is generally found in lowlands and swampy areas. [8] Loblolly pines grow well in acidic, clay soil, which is common throughout the South, thus are often found in large stands in rural places. Other old names, now rarely used, include oldfield pine, due to its status as an early colonizer of abandoned fields; bull pine, due to its size (several other yellow pines are also often so named, especially large isolated specimens); rosemary pine, due to loblolly's distinctive fragrance compared to the other southern pines; and North Carolina pine. [14]

Porridge Food

Porridge is a food commonly eaten as a breakfast cereal dish, made by boiling ground, crushed or chopped starchy plants—typically grain—in water or milk. It is often cooked or served with added flavorings such as sugar, honey, fruit or syrup to make a sweet cereal or mixed with spices or vegetables to make a savoury dish. It is usually served hot in a bowl.

Ruderal species A plant species that is first to colonize disturbed lands

A ruderal species is a plant species that is first to colonize disturbed lands. The disturbance may be natural – for example, wildfires or avalanches – or a consequence of human activity, such as construction or agriculture.

For the scientific name, Pinus is the Latin name for the pines and taeda refers to the resinous wood. [15]

Bark on a mature tree Tree Types and Barks 004.jpg
Bark on a mature tree


With the advent of wildfire suppression, loblolly pine has become prevalent in some parts of the Deep South that were once dominated by longleaf pine and, especially in northern Florida, slash pine. [16]

The rate of growth is rapid, even among the generally fast-growing southern pines. The yellowish, resinous wood is prized for lumber, but is also used for wood pulp. This tree is commercially grown in extensive plantations. [3]

Loblolly pine is the pine of the Lost Pines Forest around Bastrop, Texas, and in McKinney Roughs along the Texas Colorado River. These are isolated populations on areas of acidic sandy soil, surrounded by alkaline clays that are poor for pine growth.

A study using loblolly pines showed that higher atmospheric carbon dioxide levels may help the trees to endure ice storms better. [17]

Notable trees

The famous "Eisenhower Tree" on the 17th hole of Augusta National Golf Club was a loblolly pine. U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, an Augusta National member, hit the tree so many times that at a 1956 club meeting, he proposed that it be cut down. Not wanting to offend the President, the club's chairman, Clifford Roberts, immediately adjourned the meeting rather than reject the request outright. In February 2014, an ice storm severely damaged the Eisenhower Tree. The opinion of arborists was that the tree could not be saved and should be removed. [18]

The "Morris Pine" is located in southeastern Arkansas; it is over 300 years old with a diameter of 142 cm (56 in) and a height of 35.7 m (117 ft). [19]

Loblolly pine seeds were carried aboard the Apollo 14 flight. On its return, the seeds were planted in several locations in the US, including the grounds of the White House. As of 2016, a number of these moon trees remain alive. [20]


Pines are the most common conifers and the genus Pinus consists of more than 100 species. Sequencing of their genomes remained a huge challenge because of the high complexity and size. [21] Loblolly pine became the first species with its complete genome sequenced. [9] [22] This was the largest genome assembled until 2018, when the Axolotl genome (32Gb) was assembled. [11] The loblolly pine genome is made up of 22.18 billion base pairs, which is more than seven times that of humans. [10] Conifer genomes are known to be full of repetitive DNA, which make up 82% of the genome in loblolly pine (compared to only 50% in humans). The number of genes is estimated at about 50,172, of which 15,653 are already confirmed. Most of the genes are duplicates. Some genes have the longest introns observed among 24 fully sequenced plant genomes. [23]

Inbreeding depression

Gymnosperms are predominantly outcrossing, but lack genetic self-incompatibility. Loblolly pine, like most gymnosperms, exhibits high levels of inbreeding depression, especially in the embryonic stage. The loblolly pine harbors an average load of at least eight lethal equivalents. [24] A lethal equivalent is the number of deleterious genes per haploid genome whose cumulative effect is the equivalent of one lethal gene. The presence of at least eight lethal equivalents implies substantial inbreeding depression upon self-fertilization.

See also

Related Research Articles

Gymnosperm group of plants, at a varying rank

The gymnosperms, also known as Acrogymnospermae, are a group of seed-producing plants that includes conifers, cycads, Ginkgo, and gnetophytes. The term "gymnosperm" comes from the Greek composite word γυμνόσπερμος, meaning "naked seeds". The name is based on the unenclosed condition of their seeds. The non-encased condition of their seeds stands in contrast to the seeds and ovules of flowering plants (angiosperms), which are enclosed within an ovary. Gymnosperm seeds develop either on the surface of scales or leaves, which are often modified to form cones, or solitary as in Yew, Torreya, Ginkgo.

<i>Pinus rigida</i> species of plant

Pinus rigida, the pitch pine, is a small-to-medium-sized pine. It is native to eastern North America, from central Maine south to Georgia and as far west as Kentucky, and in two pockets along the St. Lawrence River in southern Quebec and Ontario. It is found in environments which other species would find unsuitable for growth such as acidic, sandy, and low nutrient soils. This species occasionally hybridizes with other pine species such as loblolly pine, shortleaf pine, and pond pine ; the last is treated as a subspecies of pitch pine by some botanists.

<i>Pinus serotina</i> species of plant

Pinus serotina, the pond pine, marsh pine or pocosin pine, is a tree found along the Southeastern portion of the Atlantic coastal plain of the United States, from southern New Jersey south to Florida and west to southern Alabama. This pine often has a crooked growth pattern and an irregular top and grows up to 21 metres (69 ft) high, rarely to 29 metres (95 ft).

<i>Pinus elliottii</i> species of plant

Pinus elliottii, commonly known as slash pine, is a conifer tree in the Southeastern United States. Slash pine is named after the "slashes" – swampy ground overgrown with trees and bushes – that constitute its habitat. Other common names include swamp pine, yellow slash pine, and southern Florida pine. Historically, slash pine has been an important economic timber for naval stores, turpentine, and resin. Slash pine has two different varieties: Pinus elliottii var. elliottii and Pinus elliottii var. densa.

<i>Pinus arizonica</i> species of plant

Pinus arizonica, commonly known as the Arizona pine, is a medium-sized pine in northern Mexico, southeast Arizona, southwest New Mexico, and western Texas in the United States. It is a tree growing to 25–35 m tall, with a trunk diameter of up 1.2 m. The needles are in bundles of 3, 4, or 5, with 5-needle fascicles being the most prevalent. This variability may be a sign of hybridization with the closely related ponderosa pine. The cones are single, paired, or in whorls of three, and 5–11 cm long.

Yellow pine may refer to the following:


Flatwoods, pineywoods, pine savannas and longleaf pine-wiregrass ecosystem are terms that refer to an ecological community in the Southeastern coastal plain of North America. Flatwoods are an ecosystem maintained by wildfire or prescribed fire and are dominated by longleaf pine, and slash pine in the tree canopy and saw palmetto, gallberry and other flammable evergreen shrubs in the understory, along with a high diversity of herb species. It was once one of the dominant ecosystem types of southeastern North America. Although grasses and pines are characteristic of this system, the precise composition changes from west to east, that is, from Texas to Florida. In Louisiana, savannas even differ between the east and west side of the Mississippi River. The key factor maintaining this habitat type is recurring fire. Without fire, the habitat is rapidly invaded by other species of woody plants.

<i>Pinus monophylla</i> species of plant

Pinus monophylla, the single-leaf pinyon, (alternatively spelled piñon) is a pine in the pinyon pine group, native to the United States and northwest Mexico. The range is in southernmost Idaho, western Utah, Arizona, southwest New Mexico, Nevada, eastern and southern California and northern Baja California.

Torreya State Park

Torreya State Park is a 13,735 acre (56 km²) Florida State Park, United States National Natural Landmark and historic site thirteen miles (19 km) north of Bristol. It is located north of S.R 12 on the Apalachicola River, in northwestern Florida, at 2576 N.W. Torreya Park Road.

Pocosin wetland

Pocosin is a type of palustrine wetland with deep, acidic, sandy, peat soils. Groundwater saturates the soil except during brief seasonal dry spells and during prolonged droughts. Pocosin soils are nutrient-deficient (oligotrophic), especially in phosphorus.

<i>Pinus × sondereggeri</i> nothospecies of plant

Pinus × sondereggeri is the only named southern pine hybrid. Common names include Sonderegger pine and bastard pine. It is a naturally occurring cross between loblolly pine (P. taeda) and longleaf pine (P. palustris). It was originally described by H. H. Chapman (1922), who named it after its discoverer, V. H. Sonderegger, a state forester of Louisiana. This pine usually occurs singly or in small groups where both loblolly and longleaf pines overlap in range. Because the flowering of both parental trees usually occurs at the same time of year, no phenological barrier exists, thus the two freely cross.

<i>Pinus nelsonii</i> species of plant

Pinus nelsonii, Nelson's pinyon, is a species of pine native to the mountains of northeastern Mexico, in Nuevo León, San Luis Potosí and Tamaulipas at 1,800–3,200 m altitude. It has very singular characteristics and is not closely related to any other pines in either morphology or genetics. It is placed in subgenus Strobus either in its own section Nelsonia or subsection Nelsoniae.

Lost Pines Forest Forest

The Lost Pines Forest is a 13-mile (21 km) belt of loblolly pines in the U.S. state of Texas, near the town of Bastrop. The stand of pines is unique in Texas because it is a disjunct population of trees that is more than 100 miles (160 km) separated from, and yet closely genetically related to, the vast expanse of pine trees of the Piney Woods region that covers parts of Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma.

Middle Atlantic coastal forests

The Middle Atlantic coastal forests are a temperate coniferous forest mixed with patches of evergreen broadleaved forests along the coast of the southeastern United States.

<i>Spigelia gentianoides</i> species of plant

Spigelia gentianoides is a rare species of flowering plant in the Loganiaceae known by the common names purpleflower pinkroot and gentian pinkroot. It is native to Alabama and Florida in the United States, where a few small populations remain. It is threatened by the loss and degradation of its habitat, and is a federally listed endangered species of the United States.

Southeastern conifer forests ecoregion in the United States

The Southeastern conifer forests are a tropical and subtropical coniferous forest ecoregion of the southeastern United States. It is the largest conifer forest ecoregion east of the Mississippi River.


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