Pond Pine, Pinus serotina
Pond Pine (Pinus serotina) grows in the United States along the Atlantic coast from southern New Jersey south to Florida then west to southern Alabama. This pine grows in wet ground near ponds, and swamps and is also known as the marsh pine or pocosin pine.
The pond pine is a small tree growing to heights of 82 feet with a trunk diameter of 2.6 feet. The tree tends to grow crooked and has several tops at the crown. The bark is scaly and reddish brown in color. The needles grow in bundles of three, sometimes four, and measures 4-8 inches long and .06-0.8 inches wide. The seed cones measure 2-4 inches when mature and can remain on the tree for 10 years. The seeds are not released until exposed to extreme heat (above 300 degrees Fahrenheit). The seeds measure 1.0-1.2 inches long with the wing measuring 0.3 inches long.
The pond pine may be difficult to differentiate with the loblolly pine, the difference being in the cones and the irregular growth pattern. The pond pine may also sprout branches and needles randomly on the trunk and the tree regenerates quickly after a forest fire.
The pond pine heartwood is rot resistant and is used as pulpwood, timbers, as well as firewood. The sprouts and seedlings are a source of food for deer and the seeds are eaten by many other animals as well as by birds.
Image Caption: Pond Pine (Pinus serotina). Credit: Cliff1066/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 2.0)