The Gymnosperm Database


A commercial stand of var. densa at Avon Park Bombing Range in Florida [Jay Frost, 2008.12.23].


Line drawing from the Flora of China (Wu and Raven 1999). It is a widespread plantation species in parts of China.


A sapling growing in central Florida [©Vladimir Dinets 2006] More photos can be seen HERE (2006.03.22).


Sunrise in a closed-canopy stand in central Florida [©Vladimir Dinets 2006] More photos can be seen HERE (2006.03.22).


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Conservation status

Pinus elliottii

Engelmann 1880

Common names

Slash pine, yellow slash pine, swamp pine.

Taxonomic notes

Syn: Pinus heterophylla (Elliott) Sudworth, 1893, not K. Koch, 1849; P.taeda Linnaeus var. heterophylla Elliott (Kral 1993). Two varieties, elliottii and densa.


"Trees to 30 m; trunk to 0.8 m diam., straight to contorted; crown conic, becoming rounded or flattened. Bark orange- to purple-brown, irregularly furrowed and cross-checked into large, irregularly rectangular, papery-scaly plates. Branches spreading to ascending; twigs stout (to ca. 1 cm thick), orange-brown, aging darker brown, rough-scaly. Buds cylindric, silvery brown, 1.5-2 cm; scale margins fringed. Leaves 2 or 3 per fascicle, spreading or ascending, persisting ca. 2 years, 15-20(23) cm x 1.2-1.5 mm, straight, slightly twisted, pliant, yellow- to blue-green, all surfaces with stomatal lines, margins finely serrulate, apex abruptly acute to acuminate; sheath 1-2 cm, base persistent. Pollen cones cylindric, 30-40 mm, purplish. Seed cones maturing in 2 years, falling the year after seed-shed, single or in pairs, symmetric, lance-ovoid before opening, ovoid or ovoid-cylindric when open, (7-)9-18(-20) cm, light chocolate brown, on stalks to 3 cm; apophyses lustrous (as if varnished), slightly raised, strongly cross-keeled; umbo central, depressed-pyramidal, with short, stout prickle. Seeds ellipsoid, oblique-tipped; body 6-7mm, dark brown; wing to 20mm" (Kral 1993).

Distribution and Ecology

E US. Introduced in subtropical and warm temperate areas worldwide (Kral 1993). In South Africa, it is cultivated for timber, and has invaded forest margins and grassland in Mpumalanga. It has also invaded lower-altitude, higher-rainfall areas in Zimbabwe (Palgrave 2002). Hardy to Zone 9 (cold hardiness limit between -6.6°C and -1.1°C) (Bannister and Neuner 2001). See also Thompson et al. (1999).

Distribution data from USGS (1999).

Big tree

See var. elliottii.



Although it is not generally thought of as a long-lived species, Grissino-Mayer et al. (2001) used it to date episodes of its use in resin (turpentine) production. It has also been used in climate studies, stable isotope studies, and various work related to wood anatomy, as well as some rather unique things like a study of the effects of hurricane-driven salt spray on wood production. For details, visit the Bibliography of Dendrochronology.


See the variety descriptions.


See the variety descriptions.



Engelmann, G.E. 1880. Revision of the genus Pinus, and description of Pinus elliottii. Transactions of the Academy of Science of Saint Louis 4:161-190 (p. 186, plates 1-3). Available from Google Books, accessed 2011.05.20).

Grissino-Mayer, H.D., Blount, H.C., Miller, A.C. 2001. Tree-ring dating and the ethnohistory of the naval stores industry in southern Georgia. Tree-Ring Research 57(1):3-13. Available:, accessed 2006.06.14.

See also

FEIS database.

Huffman, J.M., W.J. Platt, H. Grissino-Mayer, and C.J. Boyce. 2004. Fire history of a barrier island slash pine (Pinus elliottii) savanna. Natural Areas Journal 24(3): 258-268. Available: (2008.10.15).

Nelson, C. D., Nance, W. L. and Wagner, D. B. 1994. Chloroplast DNA variation among and within taxonomic varieties of Pinus caribaea and Pinus elliottii. Can. J. For Res. 24:424-426.

Nikles, D. G. 1966. Comparative variability and relationship of Caribbean Pine (Pinus caribaea Mor.) and Slash Pine (Pinus elliottii Engelm.). Ph.D. Thesis. NC State University. 201 pp.

Prasad and Iverson (1999).

The PROTA database account for this species (accessed 2015.02.01). PROTA accounts are focused on commercial forest uses in Africa, and typically include photographs, drawings, names, distribution, and a variety of information relevant to management of the species.

Wagner, D. B., Nance, W. L., Nelson, C. D., Li, T., Patel, R. N. and Govindaraju, D. R. 1991. Taxonomic patterns and inheritance of chloroplast variation in a survey of Pinus echinata, Pinus elliottii, Pinus palustris, and Pinus taeda. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 22:683-689.

Last Modified 2017-12-29