Spruce Pine, Pinus glabra
Spruce pine (Pinus glabra) grows along the coastline of the southern United States, from South Carolina to Florida and west to Louisiana. The Spruce pine rarely grows in pure stands, most often it is found inter dispersed among mixed hardwoods. This pine grows best in damp acidic soil, swamp to river, as well as in shady areas. The pine grows best in the hot and humid weather found in the southern hemisphere as well as tolerating mild winters. This pine also goes by the names cedar pine, Walter pine, or bottom white pine.
The Spruce pine grows straight from 65.6 feet to 114.8 feet, maximum 125 feet, reaching full height in 60 – 75 years. The needles are dark green in color and grow in bundles of two measuring 1.96-3.15 inches long. The Spruce pine is considered monoecious, producing both pollen and seed cones on the same tree. The pollen cones appear in two years and grow below the seed cones on the smaller branches measuring 0.39 – 0.59 inches long. Seed cones appear when the tree is approximately 10 years old, are purple-brown in color and measures 1.57-2.36 inches long. Seeds measure 0.236 inches with wings measuring 0.47 inches. The trunk measures 24-36 inches around with the bark being dark grey with shallow cracks in the bark near the base with the bark nearing the top becoming light gray and smooth.
Spruce pine is insect and disease resistant when grown within its range; the tree is susceptible to disease and insects, such as fungus and gall mite, outside the normal range and also if they are grown in large stands of pure pine.
The wood of the spruce pine is brittle and cannot be used for construction; unless kiln dried separately from all other wood. Once dried to specifications the wood can be used as large timers or beams. The wood is primarily used as pulp in paper making. This pine provides food and habitat for wildlife, mainly turkey; both for its large branches providing roosting places as well as feed from the seeds and cones. The spruce is also used as the Christmas tree.
Image Caption: Spruce pine (Pinus glabra). Credit: Riverbanks Outdoor Store/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 2.0)