Common Name: Pond Pine
Scientific Name: Pinus serotina
Species Range: Pond Pine is native to the southeastern corner of the United States. They range from northern Florida to New Jersey. Pond Pines live at elevations between sea level and 650 feet. They usually prefer to grow in wet areas, as its common name suggests. They can be found in swamps, bogs, savannas, Carolina Bays, and near ponds and lakes.
Growth Characteristics: Pond Pine trees can grow up to 70 feet tall. They have green needles, which are 6-8 inches long and grow in fascicles of 3. Their cones are egg-shaped and are 2-3 inches long. Pond Pine bark is dark brown and forms irregular rectangular plates. These trees often have adventitious needles that grow directly from the trunk. Not all Pond Pines have adventitious needles though, especially as they get older.
Ecosystem Service Value: Pond Pines are an important food source for Imperial Moth caterpillars (Eacles imperialis). These trees also attract various pollinators, small mammals, and birds.
Uses, Other Details: Pond Pines are usually used for pulpwood and sometimes used lumber. These trees are somewhat adapted to survive forest fires because their cones usually stay closed for years and then open after a fire.
Threats: These trees can be threatened by fire, wind, and deforestation.
Identification Tips and Tricks: The cones of Pond Pines are very helpful for identification because they are egg-shaped and much smaller than those of Loblolly, Longleaf, and Slash Pines. Pond Pines often have adventitious needles, which are bundles of needles that grow along the trunk below the canopy.
Species profile by Audrey Spann
Bean, Ryan. “Differentiating Between Loblolly, Longleaf, and Other Southern Pines in the Woods.” Clemson Extension Forestry and Wildlife, https://blogs.clemson.edu/fnr/2021/07/20/differentiating-between-loblolly-longleaf-and-other-southern-pines-in-the-woods/, July 20, 2021.
“Pinus serotina / pond pine.” American Conifer Society, https://conifersociety.org/conifers/pinus-serotina/. Retrieved January 23, 2023.
“Pinus serotina.” NC State Extension, https://plants.ces.ncsu.edu/plants/pinus-serotina/. Retrieved January 23, 2023.