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Pinus virginiana

Phonetic Spelling
PY-nus vir-jin-ee-AN-uh
Description

A native tree in the Pinaceae family commonly found in old fields at high elevations of the Piedmont and Mountains regions. Virginia Pine is an evergreen gymnosperm tree. It tends to grow in pure stands rather than mixed groups, and it grows well even in eroded and dry soil.  It is small compared to other pines, growing 15 to 40 ft. tall with a diameter of 8 to 14 in.  It grows as a broad, open pyramid when young, becoming flat-topped and horizontal with age with no prominent central leader.  The irregular branches often stay attached to the tree even after the branch wood has died.

It grows best in sites with full sun, well-drained soil, and sandy acidic loam. It has a slow growth rate and is moderately pollution tolerant for a pine. It will grow in poor, dry soils, including clay soils. This plant has numerous pest and disease problems.

This tree is not particularly ornamental, but foliage can be used in Christmas decorations and the tree itself can be utilized as a Christmas tree, although it requires selective pruning for shape. This plant is also utilized as a specimen plant in landscapes and has an interesting scraggly form, several major branches ascending that play "king of the hill", and numerous persistent cones. The seeds are a food source for many birds and It is resistant to damage by deer.

Unlike other pines, Virginia Pine is not often used for lumber due to its knotty wood and tendency to warp with moisture.  However, its long fibers make it great for use as a source of wood pulp.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  Some susceptibility to pitch canker.

Quick ID Hints:

  • Pine tree with no central leader
  • Needles in twos, twisted, short
  • Young twigs glaucous
  • Cones small, long persisting on branches
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Wates Golden'
    Yellow needles, winter interest
Tags:
#evergreen#birds#full sun#wildlife plant#native tree#slow growth#conifer#winter interest#clay#showy fruits#NC native#deer resistant#Christmas#Braham Arboretum#fantz
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Wates Golden'
    Yellow needles, winter interest
Tags:
#evergreen#birds#full sun#wildlife plant#native tree#slow growth#conifer#winter interest#clay#showy fruits#NC native#deer resistant#Christmas#Braham Arboretum#fantz
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Pinus
    Species:
    virginiana
    Family:
    Pinaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    USA, higher elevations on the eastern portion of the country
    Distribution:
    Penn south west to Missouri south to Mississippi east to Georgia
    Wildlife Value:
    Seeds are eaten by birds. This tree is resistant to damage by deer.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 15 ft. 0 in. - 40 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 10 ft. 0 in. - 30 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Tree
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Needled Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Open
    Pyramidal
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Occasionally Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    12-24 feet
    24-60 feet
    NC Region:
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    Usda Plant Hardiness Zone:
    4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Red/Burgundy
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Length:
    1-3 inches
    Fruit Description:
    1.5 to 3 in. reddish-brown, short-stalked to subsessile, persistent, oblong-conical, blunt, spiny-scaled cones in clusters of 2 to 4. They ripen after two years and old cones persist on the tree. Yellow to red curved prickle female seed cone. Umbo is a sharp prickle.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Flower Description:
    Cylindrical and yellow male pollen cones
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Needled Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Leaf Type:
    Needles
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Other/more complex
    Leaf Shape:
    Acicular
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    Leaves are needles clustered on dwarf shoots (fascicles) in twos. They are short in length (1.5-3" long), are twisting, stout, minutely toothed, have an apex that is sharp-pointed, and are yellowish-green to dark green in color.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Brown
    Dark Gray
    Orange
    Red/Burgundy
    Surface/Attachment:
    Ridges
    Shaggy
    Bark Description:
    Orange-brown scaly bark on young trees and thin small scaly plates with maturity.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    Twigs bear appressed scale leaves with axillary fascicles of needles. Young twigs are pale glaucous.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Specimen
    Attracts:
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Dry Soil
    Erosion
    Pollution