Pinus rigida Pitch Pine
This native evergreen tolerates a dry site and occurs on poor, sandy, or salty soils. In fact, it will grow in almost any site as long as it has full sun. Pitch pine can reach height of 30 to 50 feet and a width of 15 to 25 feet. It grows a foot or more a year in youth, and slows with age.
Some other common names for Pinus rigida are Jack Pine, Hard Pine, Black Pine, or Yellow Pine. Pinus banksiana is also called Jack Pine, which can create confusion. This is why we use botanical names at Edge of the Woods!
They usually have an open, flat topped, gnarled appearance which many find to be picturesque. When planted in the open, they will bear cones in as little as 3 years. Pinus rigida is the only northern pine that has needles in bundles of three, and whose needles may grow directly out of its bark or large branches.
It is the larval host for the Pine-devil Moth, and its seed is consumed by various birds. Birds such as the pine warbler, blue jays, black-capped chickadees, and various warblers use Pinus rigida for cover and nesting.
Our crop of Pinus rigida is grown from seed to ensure genetic diversity.
Branch with cones: Pitch Pine (Pinus rigida)” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Plant Image Library
Full View of Pitch pine: “Pitch Pine (Pinus rigida)” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Plant Image Library