Pinus echinata

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Shortleaf pine
Shortleaf pine savanna
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Gymnosperms
Division: Pinophyta
Class: Pinopsida
Order: Pinales
Family: Pinaceae
Genus: Pinus
Subgenus: P. subg. Pinus
Section: P. sect. Trifoliae
Subsection: P. subsect. Australes
P. echinata
Binomial name
Pinus echinata
Natural range

Pinus echinata, the shortleaf pine,[2] is a species of pine native to the Southeastern United States and Midwestern United States.


The tree is variable in form, sometimes straight, sometimes crooked, with an irregular crown. The tree reaches heights of 20–45 metres (65–150 feet) with a trunk diameter of 0.5–0.9 m (1+12–3 ft).

The leaves are needle-like, in fascicles (bundles) of two and three mixed together, and from 7–11 centimetres (2+344+14 inches) long. The cones are 4–7 cm (1+122+34 in) long, with thin scales with a transverse keel and a short prickle. They open at maturity but are persistent.[3] Shortleaf pine seedlings develop a persistent J-shaped crook near the ground surface.[4] Axillary and other buds form near the crook and initiate growth if the upper stem is killed by fire or is severed.[5]

The bark has resin pockets, which form small depressions, less than 1 millimetre (132 in) in diameter. This feature can be used to distinguish P. echinata from all other Pinus species within its native range.[6]


The Latin specific epithet of echinata refers to hedgehog, from echinus.[7]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

Shortleaf pine has the largest range of the southern US yellow pines. It is found from southernmost New York, south to northern Florida, west to eastern Texas and Oklahoma.[8]

This pine occupies a variety of habitats from rocky uplands to wet flood plains.


With frequent fire, the species creates a savanna, with a very diverse understory and prime habitat for the red-cockaded woodpecker.[9]

The tree frequently hybridizes naturally with loblolly pine and pitch pine where their ranges intersect. Hybridization with loblolly pine has become increasingly frequent in recent decades and results in a loss of fire tolerance.[5]


This pine is a source of wood pulp, plywood veneer, and lumber for a variety of uses. The shortleaf pine is one of the southern US "southern yellow pines"; it is also occasionally called southern yellow pine or the shortstraw pine.


  1. ^ Farjon, A. (2013). "Pinus echinata". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2013: e.T42359A2974993. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2013-1.RLTS.T42359A2974993.en. Retrieved 19 November 2021.
  2. ^ USDA, NRCS (n.d.). "Pinus echinata". The PLANTS Database ( Greensboro, North Carolina: National Plant Data Team. Retrieved 4 October 2015.
  3. ^ Kral, Robert (1993). "Pinus echinata". In Flora of North America Editorial Committee (ed.). Flora of North America North of Mexico (FNA). Vol. 2. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press – via, Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
  4. ^ Lawson, Edwin R. (1990). "Pinus echinata". In Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H. (eds.). Conifers. Silvics of North America. Washington, D.C.: United States Forest Service (USFS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Vol. 1 – via Southern Research Station.
  5. ^ a b Tauer, Charles G.; Stewart, John F.; Will, Rodney E.; Lilly, Curtis J.; Guldin, James M.; Nelson, C. Dana (2012-06-01). "Hybridization Leads to Loss of Genetic Integrity in Shortleaf Pine: Unexpected Consequences of Pine Management and Fire Suppression". Journal of Forestry. 110 (4): 216–224. doi:10.5849/jof.11-044. ISSN 0022-1201.
  6. ^ "Silvics of Shortleaf Pine" (PDF). North Carolina Forest Service. January 2016. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2016-12-24. Retrieved 11 November 2018.
  7. ^ Stearn, William (2004). Botanical Latin. Portland, Oregon: Timber Press. ISBN 9780881926279.
  8. ^ "Plants Profile for Pinus echinata (shortleaf pine)". Retrieved 2020-09-30.
  9. ^ Hedrick, Larry D.; Bukenhofer, George A.; Montague, Warren G.; Pell, William F.; Guldin, James M. (2007). "Shortleaf pine-bluestem restoration in the Ouachita National Forest". In: Shortleaf Pine Restoration and Ecology in the Ozarks: Proceedings of a Symposium: 206-213.

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