Pinus elliottii Engelm.
Slash pine, yellow slash pine, swamp pine
Slash pine is so called because it is a common inhabitant of “slashes”—that is, swampy ground overgrown with trees and bushes. (This rather strange meaning of “slash” probably derives from the Norwegian word slask, meaning “mud” or “slush.”) It is native to the southeastern United States, and is found at elevations below 492' (150 m). Some botanists distinguish Pinus elliottii var. densus, or Florida slash pine, from P. elliottii var. elliottii, a variety whose range includes Florida and some surrounding states. Florida slash pine has denser wood, a grass-like seedling stage, longer needles usually in fascicles of two, and opened cones average 4" (10 cm) long with rounded bottoms. Other botanists cannot discern a clear distinction. Here, we lump them together. Trees live up to 200 years.
Plants: Trees are up to 98' (30 m) in height, with trunks up to 31" (80 cm) in diameter. Most trees are straight, branching only near the top. Bark is orange to purple-brown, irregularly furrowed into loosely rectangular scaly plates.
Leaves: Needles are in groups of 2 or 3, each 6-8" (15-20 cm) × ⅜-½" (1.2-1.5 cm). They are dark green and straight or somewhat twisted, and yellow- to blue-green.
Flowers: Buds are cylindric, silver-brown, ½-¾" (1.5-2 cm) long.
Fruits: Pollen cones are cylindric, 1-1½" (3-4 cm) long, and purplish, emerging from a branch tip in small clusters. Seed cones occur singly or in pairs, opening to a light chocolate brown color. Good cone crops occur every 3 or 4 years.
Pinus elliottii on The Gymnosperm Database
Pinus elliottii on the USDA Forest Service's Fire Effects Information Database
Pinus elliottii on conifersociety.org
Pinus elliottii at the Virginia Tech Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation
Pinus elliottii at cabi.org’s Invasive Species Compendium
Pinus elliottii on florida.plantatlas.usf.edu
Pinus elliottii description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 25 May 2020.