A large, fast-growing tree of forests and abandoned fields, reaching heights of 125 feet and a trunk to 4 feet in diameter, with a dense, rounded crown of dark, blue-green foliage.
East Texas, ranging west to the "Lost Pine" region in the vicinity of Bastrop, Lee, and Fayette counties. Loblolly pine was most commonly found along banks of streams in virgin forests of Texas, but is now the dominant pine on all sites.
The needles are borne in bundles of 3, mostly 5" to 10" long, and dull blue-green; in the spring, bright green clumps of needles grow at the end of branches and give the tree a luxuriant appearance.
Male conelets are yellow-green to purple, about 2" long, appearing in spring at the tips of branchlets; female cones are 0.5" long and yellowish.
A woody, stalkless cone, 3" to 5" long, oval, reddish-brown, armed with prickles on the tips of the scales, and requiring two years to mature. The winged seeds are shed during the fall and early winter after the cones open fully.
Thick, dark red-brown to black, breaking into irregular, flaky plates and deep fissures.
The resinous wood is coarse-grained and there is marked contrast between the bands of springwood and summerwood. The most commercially valuable southern pine, the wood has a wide range of uses including lumber, cooperage, pulp, boxes, crossties, posts, and fuel.
Shortleaf pine (Pinus echinata) has shorter needles in bundles of 2; slash pine (P. elliottii) has longer, glossy needles in bundles of 2; longleaf pine (P. palustris) has needles 10" to 18" long.
The name "loblolly" comes from a slang word used by English seamen for the lumpy gruel they were served at sea. The term came to be associated with the baygalls and wet areas in the low country of the Carolinas where the first settlers arrived in the 1600's.