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PlantFiles: Short-Leaf Pine, Shortleaf Yellow Pine, Southern Yellow Pine, Yellow Pine, Arkansas Pine
Pinus echinata

Family: Pinaceae (py-NAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Pinus (PY-nus) (Info)
Species: echinata (ek-in-AY-tuh) (Info)

3 members have or want this plant for trade.


over 40 ft. (12 m)

30-40 ft. (9-12 m)
over 40 ft. (12 m)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Bloom Color:
Bright Yellow

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring

Grown for foliage

Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
Provides winter interest

Soil pH requirements:
4.6 to 5.0 (highly acidic)
5.1 to 5.5 (strongly acidic)
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
From semi-hardwood cuttings
From seed; direct sow after last frost
By grafting
By air layering

Seed Collecting:
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

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By htop
Thumbnail #1 of Pinus echinata by htop

By htop
Thumbnail #2 of Pinus echinata by htop

By htop
Thumbnail #3 of Pinus echinata by htop

By htop
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By Toxicodendron
Thumbnail #5 of Pinus echinata by Toxicodendron

By Toxicodendron
Thumbnail #6 of Pinus echinata by Toxicodendron


4 positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Neutral braun06 On Jan 2, 2014, braun06 from Peoria Heights, IL (Zone 5b) wrote:

While doing a community volunteer trip around Peoria, I recognized the bark of this tree in a yard. It is a shocking find since even in St Louis it can appear a bit mangy after some winters. The tree growing here is about 20' tall and has developed a crown low at this height, obviously adjustments for the colder climate. In Peoria it survives and grows. During the growing season Shortleaf pine is attractive however in winter the leaves take on a yellow cast here and medium defoliation can be common. I don't know how someone here got a hold of this pine and planted it, kind of random. It was cool to see the tree again after moving away from the Carolinas in 2000.

Positive jqpublic On Feb 8, 2008, jqpublic from Cary, NC (Zone 7b) wrote:

Not as common here as the Loblolly pine, but I do love the form of this tree over the Loblolly. Tall stand-alone specimens are quite picturesque and look like giant bonsais! I just love them and their look in the winter landscape :)

Positive htop On Jul 24, 2005, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

This is an evergreen native tree that grows to 80-100 feet in height with a trunk that can be 2-3 feet in diameter. When young it has a pyramidal shape, but, develops a small narrow crown with age. The bark is scaly-plated, red-brown and has resin pockets. The branches are spreading to ascending wth 2-year-old branchlets being slender, 5 mm or less and are greenish brown to red-brown. They age to gray and become rough and crack below the leafy portion. The red-brown buds are ovoid to cylindric.

It has 3 to 5" dark blue-green, needle-like leaves in groups of 2 to 3, which are straight to slightly twisted, gray- to yellow-green and with the margins finely serrulated. The male bloom clusters are yellowish-brown to pale pink with the females being light pink. They can be solitary or in clusters of 2 or 3. The pollen cones are cylindric, 15-20 mm, yellow- to pale purple-green. The yellow-brown to pale purple, 1.5 to 2.5" seed cones turn to gray, mature in 2 years and thus, stay on the tree over the winter. The cone scales are rounded at the tip, thin, with the exposed portions of the closed cone being reddish-brown. They have small, sharp, straight or curved spines. The 1/4 inch seeds are ellipsoid, gray to nearly black and winged. The 1/2 inch long wings are straw colored and sometimes have yellow-brown streaks.

In Texas, shortleaf pine grows in upland woods, fields and well-drained slopes and hills in the east Texas Pineywoods region. Additionly, it is found in the eastern U.S. from central New Jersey south and west to northern Florida, southern Missouri and eastern Oklahoma. Being the most cold hardy of the southern pines, it is also drought tolerant and wind resistant due to its long taproot which also makes it difficult to transplant. It adapts to various soil types, but likes well-drained, adidic, sandy soil the best.

It is an important food source for wildlife. The wood is moderately heavy, firm and well-suited for many uses. It is used as structural timbers, pulp and planing-mill products. It is sometimes used as an ornamental tree in the landscape; however, the needles, cones and dead branches drop off frequently which can be an aggravation.

Positive melody On Jan 28, 2005, melody from Benton, KY (Zone 7a) wrote:

A mostly Southern to Mid-southern tree with 2 and 3 needle clusters, which is very unusual.

Needles are 3" to 5" and twigs are about 1/4" thick. cones are egg shaped and 1 1/2" to 3" long and the prickles are weak, and don't hurt the hands when handled. Old cones are usually present on the treee.

Common in old fields and uplands. The young trees are said to produce root sprouts after a fire.

Positive Toxicodendron On Jun 11, 2004, Toxicodendron from Piedmont, MO (Zone 6a) wrote:

Pinus echinata is the predominant native pine here in Southeast Missouri. It is a tall, straight, attractive tree with very nice blocky bark. I have read that it is the only pine which will resprout if the central leader is cut off, and I have seen some "bonsai" looking ones along the highway where that has happened. It will grow in rocky clay and endure summer droughts. Not easily transplanted except when very small, because of the taproot. Most of ours are 70 feet tall or more. They lose the lower branches as they age, so they are not good for screening.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Lilburn, Georgia
Peoria, Illinois
Benton, Kentucky
Mc Dowell, Kentucky
Piedmont, Missouri
Raleigh, North Carolina
San Antonio, Texas

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