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Home > Resources > North Carolina Trees > Shortleaf Pine

Shortleaf Pine

(Pinus echinata Mill.)


Shortleaf pine, also known as rosemary pine, yellow pine and old-field pine, is widely distributed throughout the South. It can be found in pure or mixed stands from the Coastal Plain to the uplands and lower mountain slopes. In the lower mountains, it grows with hardwoods and four other species of pine: white; pitch; Virginia; and table mountain.

Shortleaf pine needles are 3 to 5 inches long, slender, flexible, dark green and grow in clusters of two or three. Needles begin dropping at the end of the second season, with some remaining until the fifth year.

The symmetrical cones are ovoid, short stalked, 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 inches long and are armed with a short spine at the tip of each scale. The seed-fall begins in early autumn and continues into the winter. The empty cone remains on the tree for several years.

Mature shortleaf pine bark is broken into irregularly shaped plates that are covered with thin, reddish scales -- often thinner and lighter-colored than that of old loblolly pine. Small surface pits or holes in the outer bark scales are a unique feature of this tree.

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