Pitch Pine

Photo of the Tree

Pitch pine is the only pine in eastern Canada with needles in bundles of three, and is therefore easy to identify.

A small tree, the pitch pine grows 66 feet high (20 metres high), and has an estimated life span of 200 years.

Pitch pine cones have pointed scales firmly held together by resin. The cones are opened only by fire, giving the pitch pine the capacity to colonize burn areas. It can also reproduce from stump shoots and from dormant buds in the bark of the trunk.

This species is well suited to dry soils. It is found on sand-plains, gravelly slopes, and swamps. The pitch pine generally occurs in pure stands, but is also found mixed with other species.

Its wood is coarse-grained and resinous. It is soft and of poor quality. In the past, it was used as fuelwood, and in woodworking. But today pitch pine is used only in reforesting bare sandy soil.


Leaf

Photo - Leaf

Needles, twisted in bundles of three, 2.8 to 4.8 in long (7 to 12 cm long).

Fruit

Photo - fruit

Fruits, brown cone, 2 to 3.6 in long (5 to 9 cm long), with scales bearing rigid sharp prickles.