Pinus rigida P. Mill.

pitch pine

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New England Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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North America Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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Facts About

The cone scales and sharp needles of pitch pine are thick and rigid, making this a distinctive and easy-to-remember species. In New England, it most commonly occurs in sandy barrens and coastal plains; it is the only moderately salt-tolerant pine species in the region. It relies on fire to clear areas of competitors and allow for colonization. This hardy species is extremely resilient to fire and herbivory by deer; it readily sends up new shoots in response to stress. Pine grosbeak, pine warbler, and many other birds find the seeds a welcome mid-winter food. The dense, resinous wood has long been used for ship-building and rough construction.

Habitat

Wetland margins (edges of wetlands), woodlands

Characteristics

Habitat
  • terrestrial
  • wetlands
New England state
  • Connecticut
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
Growth form
the plant is a tree
Leaf form
the leaves are needle-like
Leaf cross-section
the needle-like leaves are rounded, or flattened on one side (can be rolled between the fingers)
Leaf arrangement
the needle-like leaves are in clusters or held on short shoots
Seed cone form
the seed cone is longer than wide, with woody scales attached at the base
Leaf clustering
  • the needle-like leaves are in bundles or clusters of five
  • the needle-like leaves are in bundles or clusters of three
Seed cone shape
the seed cone is ovoid (egg-shaped)
Leaves overlapping
the needle-like leaves are separate and do not hide the twig surface
Show All Characteristics
  • Fruits or seeds
    Seed cone base
    the base of the seed cone does not look hollow
    Seed cone bracts
    the bracts are covered by the seed cone scales
    Seed cone form
    the seed cone is longer than wide, with woody scales attached at the base
    Seed cone scales
    the visible portion of the scale of the closed seed cone is thickened at its base
    Seed cone shape
    the seed cone is ovoid (egg-shaped)
    Seed cone symmetry
    the seed cone is symmetrical
    Seed cone umbo position
    the raised portion is at the tip of the seed cone scale
    Seed cone umbo spine
    the seed cone scale has a sharp point on it
    Seed wings
    the seeds have wing-like projections
  • Growth form
    Growth form
    the plant is a tree
  • Leaves
    Leaf arrangement
    the needle-like leaves are in clusters or held on short shoots
    Leaf base
    NA
    Leaf clustering
    • the needle-like leaves are in bundles or clusters of five
    • the needle-like leaves are in bundles or clusters of three
    Leaf cross-section
    the needle-like leaves are rounded, or flattened on one side (can be rolled between the fingers)
    Leaf duration
    the needle-like leaves remain green all winter
    Leaf form
    the leaves are needle-like
    Leaf glands
    there are no glands on the underside of the needle-like leaves
    Leaf stalks
    the needle-like leaves do not have a leaf stalk
    Leaf types
    there are two distinct types of needle-like leaves on the twig
    Leaves overlapping
    the needle-like leaves are separate and do not hide the twig surface
  • Place
    Habitat
    • terrestrial
    • wetlands
    New England state
    • Connecticut
    • Maine
    • Massachusetts
    • New Hampshire
    • Rhode Island
    • Vermont
    Specific habitat
    • edges of wetlands
    • woodlands
  • Stem, shoot, branch
    Bark resin blisters
    there are no resin blisters on the bark
    Branchlet thickness
    2–5 mm
    Leaves on shoots
    there are needle-like leaves growing in tight clusters on a short, knob-like shoot
    Twig bloom
    there is no bloom on the twig
    Twig hair type
    the twigs have few or no hairs on them
    Twig hairs
    the twig does not have hairs

Wetland Status

Usually occurs in non-wetlands, but occasionally in wetlands. (Wetland indicator code: FACU)

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

Connecticut
present
Maine
present
Massachusetts
present
New Hampshire
present
Rhode Island
present
Vermont
present

Conservation Status

Exact status definitions can vary from state to state. For details, please check with your state.

Massachusetts
unranked (S-rank: SNR)

Native to North America?

Yes

Family

Pinaceae

Genus

Pinus

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