(Chapm. ex Engelm.) Sarg.
|Natural range of Pinus clausa|
The tree is found in two separate locations, one across central peninsular Florida, and the other in the western Florida panhandle and the Alabama coast. There is a range gap of about 200 km (120 mi) between the populations (from Apalachicola to Cedar Key).
It is largely confined to very infertile, excessively well-drained, sandy habitats where competition from larger-growing species is minimized by the harsh growing conditions of hot sun, fast draining white sands, and frequent severe seasonal droughts. It is often the only canopy tree in the Florida scrub ecosystem.
Over much of its range, it is fire-adapted to stand-replacing wildfires, with the cones remaining closed for many years (clausa = closed), until a natural forest fire kills the mature trees and opens the cones. These then reseed the burnt ground. Some populations differ in having cones that open at maturity, with seed dispersal not relying on fires.
Pinus clausa woodlands are an important part of the Florida scrub ecosystem, and provide habitat for the endangered Florida Sand Skink, among other species. It is one of the few canopy trees able to grow in arid, sandy, and hot locations with minimal care.
- Farjon, A. 2013. Pinus clausa. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. Downloaded on 02 September 2015.
- Pinus clausa. USDA Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN).
- Moore, Gerry; Kershner, Bruce; Craig Tufts; Daniel Mathews; Gil Nelson; Spellenberg, Richard; Thieret, John W.; Terry Purinton; Block, Andrew (2008). National Wildlife Federation Field Guide to Trees of North America. New York: Sterling. p. 70. ISBN 1-4027-3875-7.
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