Pines

Four species of pine grow in the Burke area: shortleaf, slash, longleaf, and loblolly.

Shortleaf Pine

 

Shortleaf Pine

The shortleaf pine is frequently confused with loblolly pine. The two species are very easy to distinguish, however, as loblolly has its needles in threes and shortleaf has needles in twos. Further, the needles of shortleaf (sometimes called "shortneedle") tend to be shorter (usually not more than about 6" long) and twisted. The cones of shortleaf pine are distinctively small and prickly.

Slash Pine

It is distinguished by having needles up to about a foot long, considerably longer (usually) than those of loblolly, and with needles in both twos and threes on the same branch. The cones are relatively large, between longleaf and loblolly in size. The ripe cones tend to be reddish, and not very prickly. (This is the preferred cone for constructing Thanksgiving "turkeys" for the dinner table...the cones don't take up as much room next to the gravy as longleaf "turkeys".)

Longleaf Pine

Once the most common of pines, it has been timbered out and is now rare. Longleaf pine has the largest cone of any of the pines, commonly up to 12" long, with the scales broadly flaring or reflexed on fallen, dried examples. The green cones are tight and prickly.

The needles are always in threes, and are the longest of all the pine species in Angelina County. Some actively growing trees produce exceptionally long needles, to nearly 18".

Loblolly Pine

Loblolly is distinctive, but is sometimes confused with slash pine and short-needle pine. The cones of loblolly are up to about 7" long, dark gray (or nearly black) and with somewhat silvery scale tips. The scales are sharply prickly, and one identifying trick is said to be squeezing the cone, which can be painful!

The needles are medium in length, usually 8-10", and in threes. Rarely, two needles will be found.