Pitch Pine Pinus rigida P. Miller    
Kingdom Plantae   >   Division Coniferophyta   >   Class Pinopsida   >   Order Pinales   >   Family Pinaceae   >   Genus Pinus   

Status:

"Pitch Pine as a dominant community component is highly rare in the greater Washington, D.C. area, reaching its southern coastal extension in the eastern U.S. on the vast, deep Cretaceous sand deposits that extend from northeastern Prince George's County through Anne Arundel County. All of the Pitch Pine communities in the region are allied with similar types in the New Jersey Pine Barrens and are globally rare" (R. Simmons, presentation). Pitch Pine "is locally abundant in a variety of habitats throughout this [Coastal Plain] region, from xeric to hydric, likely owing its presence and distribution more to the deep, sandy soils than the role of fire as a major developing factor. Innumerable old-age trees occur throughout...." (R. Simmons, et al., 2008).

Description:

Typical of Pitch Pine are tufts of needles emerging directly from the trunk and branches, but beware, Pond Pine also has needles that grow out of the trunk. Separating the two species can be difficult. Needles of Pitch Pine are typically 7-10cm long, while the needles of Pond Pine are typically 16-20 cm long. Pond Pine cones are serotinous. Pitch Pine cones are not serotinous.

Where to find:

Easily observable stands of Pitch Pine occur along roads of the north tract of Patuxent Research Refuge. On the Eastern Shore, lone individuals occur in appropriate habitats (McAvoy, 2018), and notable populations occur in Idylwild WMA and Pocomoke State Forest.

Pitch Pine is found across much of the state on dry, sandy, or rocky sites, often with Virginia Pine (Brown and Brown, 1972), and in bogs in Garrett County.

There are 98 records in the project database.

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Pitch Pine in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland (10/30/2018). Note the key field mark of clusters of needles growing directly from trunk or branches. Photo by Matt Grey. (MBP list)

Pitch Pine bark in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland (2/17/2019). Photo by Matthew Beziat. (MBP list)

A Pitch Pine on Assateague Island, Worcester Co., Maryland (2/20/2016). Photo by Bill Hubick. (MBP list)

A young Pitch Pine cone in Frederick Co., Maryland (9/23/2015). Photo by Richard Orr. (MBP list)

Pitch Pine in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland (10/29/2016). Photo by Bill Harms. (MBP list)

Pitch Pine in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland (2/14/2013). Key field marks include needles in clusters of three, longer needles than Virginia (but shorter than Loblolly), often with clusters of needles growing from the trunk. Photo by Bill Hubick. (MBP list)

Pitch Pine needles collected in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland (3/13/2013). Note bundles of 3 averaging around 3 1/4 inches. Virginia Pine needles grow in bundles of two and average 2 1/4 inches. Loblolly needles are in threes and generally much longer, up to an average of 7" on mature branches. Photo by Bill Hubick. (MBP list)

Pitch Pine in Wicomico Co., Maryland (1/12/2020). Photo by Jim Brighton. (MBP list)

Pitch Pine with young female cone and persistent cones (brown, dried, and open) from previous years, in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland (8/27/2018). Photo by Matt Grey. (MBP list)

Pitch Pine (left) in Howard Co., Maryland (10/4/2013). Photo by Jim Wilkinson. (MBP list)

Pitch Pine in Frederick Co., Maryland (1/9/2021). (c) johnbotany, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC). Photo by John Hall. (MBP list)

Pitch Pines in a vernal pool in Frederick Co., Maryland (4/1/2014). Photo by Richard Orr. (MBP list)

Pitch Pine in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland (10/29/2016). Maryland State Co-champion. Photo by Bill Harms. (MBP list)

Pitch Pine with young male cones, in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland (5/1/2018). Photo by Matt Grey. (MBP list)

Pitch Pine with persistent cones from previous year(s), in Allegany Co., Maryland (8/22/2019). Photo by Mark Eanes. (MBP list)


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