Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) state tree of ALABAMA, NORTH CAROLINA

This pine is a tall, stately native of the southern United States coastal plain, from southeast Texas to southern Virginia. It is one of several pines which characterize the southern pine savannahs. Longleaf pine thrives in areas with long, hot summer conditions and poor acidic soils that are low in organic matter. Like most savannah species, longleaf pine depends on fire to maintain its habitat. Its seeds germinate best on land recently burned. It is a slow-growing tree that may live 200 to 300 years. This pine produces valuable lumber and is also used to produce turpentine, rosin, and tar. The wood is used for posts, structural beams, and flooring. In colonial times, large areas of longleaf pine were cut down for use in shipbuilding. Logging and conversion of the land for other uses has eliminated 97 percent of the longleaf pine forests that existed in pre-colonial times. Old hollow trees are a favorite home for the rare red-cockaded woodpecker. Alabama’s state tree was listed as the “Southern pine” in 1949. But many pines are native to the South, and this name was not specific to a species. It was not until 1997 that Pinus palustris was officially designated as Alabama’s state tree.


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