Among the Pines

June 2020
Written By: 
Grand Strand Magazine Staff

Longleaf Pine (Pinus palustris) - This stately evergreen conifer is native to the Southeatern United States

- Longest lived of Southern pine species, with an average lifespan of 250 years. Some rare individuals have reached as many as 450 years old.

- In the late 19th century, these trees were among some of the most sought after, due to their strength and size. They were often used for timber and ship building. Only about 3% of the original longleaf pine forest remains.

- Many species of wildlife depend on the tree, such as the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker (RCW), which uses it for nesting.

- Mature trees stand between 80 and 100 feet tall, and the trunk can reach up to three feet in diameter.

- The Waccamaw National Wildlife Refuge in Conway is making an effort to recover the longleaf pine and RCW and has planted new seedlings on many acres of the refuge.

- Common name comes from having the longest leaves of the eastern pine tree species. Needle-like leaves can grow 18 inches long. It has the largest cone of any pine in South Carolina.