slash pine
Pinus elliottii

Secondary Names:

Leaf Type: Evergreen
Texas Native:
Tree Description:

A large, fast-growing pine to 100 feet tall and a trunk to 3 feet in diameter, conical when young and having a rounded, open crown with age.

Range/Site Description:

Native to the U.S. coast from South Carolina to eastern Louisiana, it has been widely planted in East Texas, and as a landscape tree in urban areas from Dallas to Houston. It prefers acid soils and develops many health problems on alkaline soils.


The dark green, lustrous needles are in bundles of 2, sometimes 3, and are from 5" to 10" long and fairly stiff. The spiral arrangement on the new twigs gives each branch a "bottlebrush" or "foxtail" appearance.


Conelets appear in late winter, the male ones purplish-brown, about 1" long or more, containing the yellow pollen. Female conelets are pink, on short stalks.


A woody cone, usually 4" to 6" long, brown and glossy, the thin scales armed with sharp, fine prickles.


Up to 2" thick on older trees, the bark breaks into broad, flat, reddish or orange-brown plates with dark furrows between.


Hard, very strong, durable, coarse-grained, dark orange color, with thick, nearly white sapwood. Naval stores, lumber, pulpwood and many other products can be produced from this tree.

Similar Species:

Austrian pine (Pinus nigra) has shorter needles and dark bark without any orange color and is planted as an ornamental in the High Plains.

Interesting Facts:

The initial planting of slash pine in Texas was on the E.O. Siecke State Forest near Kirbyville in 1926. It was once favored for reforestation because of its rapid height growth, good survival, and comparative freedom from tip-moth damage. However, many plantations contracted root rot on sandy sites and the species has fallen out of favor for timber production in Texas.

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