Pinus serotina

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

Pinus serotina, the pond pine, black bark pine, bay pine, marsh pine, or pocosin pine,[2] is a pine tree found along the Southeastern portion of the Atlantic coastal plain of the United States, from southern New Jersey south to Florida and west to southern Alabama.[3] Pond pine distribution may be starting to spread west towards Mississippi and Tennessee.[4][5]


This pine often has a crooked growth pattern and an irregular top and grows up to 21 metres (69 ft) high,[6] rarely to 29 metres (95 ft).[7]The needles are in bundles of three or four, and 15–20 cm (6–8 in) long. Pinus serotina will grow needles and little branches directly from the trunk, similar to the Pinus rigida (pitch pine), but the pitch pines will only grow in drier areas. The Pinus serotina is very similar to the common Pinus taeda (loblolly pine), but the key differences are they have direct needle growth from the trunk, are smaller in size, and tend not to grow straight.[8] The bark of the pond pine forms rough plates. They are a brownish-red color. The pond pines are not as cold hardy as the loblolly and pitch pines. It takes 18 years for the pond pine to reach full maturity.[9] The almost round cones are 5–8 cm (2–3+14 in) long with small prickles on the scales. Its cones are usually serotinous, requiring fire to open.[6] The pollen cones are cylinder-shaped with a yellow, brownish color, and are up to 1.8 inches long. Seed cones need two years to mature after pollination. In some cases, they will drop their seeds, but in most Pinus serotina, they will persist and hold their seeds. The color of the seed cones and seed scales is red-brown in color. The foliar sheaths measure 0.4 to 0.8 with long bases. The seeds are ovule in shape, being 0.2 and 0.24 in length, and have an angled tip colored a pale brown.[10] For seeds to be used for regeneration, seed trees that are 23 to 25 cm (9 - 10 inches) in DBH and 30 years old are expected to produce 5,000 seeds.[11]


Pinus serotina was described in 1803 by Andre Michaux.[12] Pinus is a large genus of evergreen conifer trees.[13] The species name serotina is derived from the persistently serotinous cones that may remain closed for several years before they release their seeds. Historically this species has been viewed as a subspecies of Pinus taeda.[14] Similarly Pinus serotina has also been considered a subspecies of Pinus rigida (Pinus rigida subsp. serotina (1880)).[15][16]


Pinus serotina is primarily found in wet and poorly drained sites, most commonly in or near swamps, ponds, bays, marshes, and pocosins.[17][18] This species is often associated with long leaf pine, Pinus palustris, due to similar requirements for frequent fire and pond pines needs fire to germinate.[19] Pinus serotina is commonly found in wet and poorly drained sites, but it will grow very well in mineral soils.[20] [21] Pond pines are very useful in preventing erosion and improving water quality.[22] Pinus serotina, thrive in flatwoods, flatwoods bogs, savannas, and barrens.[23] At the north end of its range, pond pine intergrades and hybridizes with pitch pine (P. rigida); it is distinguished from that species by longer needles and on average slightly larger cones. Some botanists treat pond pine as a subspecies of pitch pine. Pinus serotina habitat include mild and humid climates. The average temperature ranges from 45 degrees F to 80 degrees F. The more extreme temperature ranges recorded for Pinus serotina are -10 degrees F and 110 degrees F. The average annual precipitation for Pinus serotina is between 44 and 55 inches.[24]


Pinus serotina stands provide habitat and support for many wildlife species, particularly for birds and mammals in wetlands and flatland environments.[25][26] The pond pine is intolerant of shade.[25] In order for reproduction to occur, Pinus serotina needs fire in the form of intense scorching or defoliation. The buds are dormant and protected by the tree's thick bark. When parts of the tree are top killed by fire, epicortical buds can resume growth. 15 to 20 seed trees are needed per hectare (6 to 8 acres) for the sufficient seed set after fire. Without the heat from a fire the seed fall is limited by the serotinous cones of pond pine. Pond pine seedling growth is often limited by the moisture in the soil, lack of nutrients, and competition. Under poor growing conditions pond pine seedlings grow can as little as 30cm (12 inches) or less per year.[27]


Even though the Pinus serotina has poor form and relatively slow growth, it can produce economically valuable tree stands of for pulpwood and saw timber where other trees will not grow.[28] Tan or green dyes can be obtained from the needles of the Pinus serotina. A vanillin flavoring is obtained from the byproducts of the pulpwood's resins.[29] It is suggested that Pinus serotina might be a valuable remedy to treat the kidney, and can be administered as a rub or in a steam bath. Pinus serotina may be useful in treating diseases of the mucous membrane and respiratory complaints.[30]

Diseases and other issues[edit]

Several species of bark beetles attack southern pines including pond pine, the beetles include the Southern pine beetle, three species of the Ips engraver beetles, and the black turpentine beetle. These beetle species grind through conducting tissues of their hosts. Phloem damage leads pine needles fading from green, to light green, and death of the tree.[31] These trees also face the eastern pine weevil and are susceptible to wind damage. [32] Pinus serotina also faces red heart disease (Phellinus pini), a fungal disease of pines.[33]

Conservation statues[edit]

The primary threat to the Pinus serotina is habitat loss of wet flatlands, peat-rich soils, sandy wet flatlands, and pocosins. Pinus serotina, allows for trees to regenerate by coppicing. Thus disturbances (e.g. fire) are required for this species to persist and recruit. Pinus serotina, is listed by the IUCN Red List as a species of least concern (LC) for extinction.[34]


  1. ^ Farjon, A. (2013). "Pinus serotina". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2013: e.T42414A2978464. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2013-1.RLTS.T42414A2978464.en. Retrieved 12 November 2021.
  2. ^ "Pinus serotina (Bay Pine, Black Bark Pine, Marsh Pine, Pocosin Pine, Pond Pine) | North Carolina Extension Gardener Plant Toolbox". Retrieved 2023-11-12.
  3. ^ "Pond Pine (Pinus serotina)". Retrieved 2023-11-12.
  4. ^ "USDA Plants Database". Retrieved 2023-11-12.
  5. ^ Grimm, William Carey (1966) [1962]. The Book of Trees. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: The Stackpole Company (published 1962). p. 50.
  6. ^ a b Kral, Robert (1993). "Pinus serotina". 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.
  7. ^ Bramlett, David L. (1990). "Pinus serotina". 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.
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  9. ^ "Pond Pine: Plant Care & Growing Guide". The Spruce. Retrieved 2023-11-13.
  10. ^ "Pinus serotina". Retrieved 2023-10-18.
  11. ^ "Pinus serotina Michx". Retrieved 2023-11-12.
  12. ^ "Alphabetical species list of plants discovered by André Michaux in the Carolinas". Retrieved 2023-11-13.
  13. ^ "Pinus - definition of Pinus - synonyms, pronunciation, spelling from Free Dictionary". Retrieved 2023-11-12.
  14. ^ "Pinus serotina (pond pine) description - The Gymnosperm Database". Retrieved 2023-11-12.
  15. ^ "USDA Plants Database". Retrieved 2023-11-12.
  16. ^ "Pinus rigida subsp. serotina | International Plant Names Index". Retrieved 2023-11-29.
  17. ^ "Pinus serotina Michx". Retrieved 2023-10-18.
  18. ^ Kershner, Bruce; Mathews, Daniel; Nelson, Gil (2008). National Wildlife Federation field guide to trees of North America. New York: Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. ISBN 978-1-4027-3875-3.
  19. ^ "Pinus serotina". Retrieved 2020-10-07.
  20. ^ Burns, Russell M. (1990). Silvics of North America: Conifers. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service.
  21. ^ Saylor, LeRoy C.; Kang, Ke Won (1973). "A Study of Sympatric Populations of Pinus taeda L. and Pinus serotina Michx. in North Carolina". Journal of the Elisha Mitchell Scientific Society. 89 (1/2): 101–110. ISSN 0013-6220. JSTOR 24333426.
  22. ^ "Pond Pine: Plant Care & Growing Guide". The Spruce. Retrieved 2023-11-13.
  23. ^ "Pinus serotina in Flora of North America @". Retrieved 2023-11-12.
  24. ^ Burns, Russell M. (1990). Silvics of North America: Conifers. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service.
  25. ^ a b "Pinus serotina Michx". Retrieved 2023-11-12.
  26. ^ Graham, Ben F.; Rebuck, Allen L. (January 1958). "The Effect of Drainage on the Establishment and Growth of Pond Pine (Pinus Serotina)". Ecology. 39 (1): 33. doi:10.2307/1929964. JSTOR 1929964.
  27. ^ "Pinus serotina Michx". Retrieved 2023-11-12.
  28. ^ "Pinus serotina Michx". Retrieved 2023-11-12.
  29. ^ "medicinal herbs: POND PINE - Pinus serotina". Retrieved 2023-11-12.
  30. ^ "medicinal herbs: POND PINE - Pinus serotina". Retrieved 2023-11-12.
  31. ^ "Pine Bark Beetles | NC State Extension Publications". Retrieved 2023-11-12.
  32. ^ "Pinus serotina (Bay Pine, Black Bark Pine, Marsh Pine, Pocosin Pine, Pond Pine) | North Carolina Extension Gardener Plant Toolbox". Retrieved 2023-11-12.
  33. ^ "Pinus serotina (pond pine)". CABI Compendium. 2022-01-07. doi:10.1079/cabicompendium.41713. Retrieved 2023-11-13.
  34. ^ IUCN (2011-04-11). Pinus serotina: Farjon, A.: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2013: e.T42414A2978464 (Report). International Union for Conservation of Nature. doi:10.2305/ Retrieved 12 November 2021.
  35. ^ Trees, Shrubs, and Woody Vines of North Carolina: Pond Pine (Pinus serotina)