The Gymnosperm Database


A tree beside the Blue Ridge Parkway on Grandfather Mountain, North Carolina [C.J. Earle, 2004.10.26].


First-year cone and foliage [C.J. Earle, 2004.10.26].


Old cones on a branch [C.J. Earle, 2004.10.27].


Foliage and twigs [C.J. Earle, 2004.10.26].


Foliage and twig detail [C.J. Earle, 2004.10.27].


Detail of fascicle. Note semicircular leaf cross section, stomata on both surfaces, persistent sheath [C.J. Earle, 2004.10.27].


Bark [C.J. Earle, 2004.10.26].


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Conservation status

Pinus pungens

Lambert 1805

Common names

Table Mountain pine, mountain pine (Kral 1993), hickory pine.

Taxonomic notes


"Trees to 12 m; trunk to 0.6 m diam., straight to crooked, erect to leaning, poorly self-pruning; crown irregularly rounded or flattened. Bark red- to gray-brown, irregularly checked into scaly plates. Branches horizontally spreading; twigs slender, orange- to yellow-brown, aging darker brown, rough. Buds ovoid to cylindric, red-brown, 0.6-0.9 cm, resinous. Leaves 2(-3) per fascicle, spreading or ascending, persisting 3 years, 3-6(-8) cm × 1-1.5 mm, twisted, deep yellow-green, all surfaces with fine stomatal lines, margins harshly serrulate, apex acute to short-acuminate; sheath 0.5-1 cm, base persistent. Pollen cones ellipsoid, ca. 15mm, yellow. Seed cones maturing in 2 years, variably serotinous, mostly whorled, downcurved, asymmetric, ovoid before opening, broadly ovoid when open, (4-)6-10 cm, gray- to pale red-brown, nearly sessile or on stalks to 1cm; apophyses thickened, diamond-shaped, strongly keeled, elongate, mammillate at cone base abaxially; umbo central, a stout, curved, sharp claw. Seeds deltoid-obovoid, oblique; body ca. 6 mm, deep purple-brown to black; wing 10-20(-30) mm. 2n=24" (Kral 1993).

Distribution and Ecology

USA: Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, South Carolina, and Georgia in the Appalachian Mountains and associated Piedmont at 500-1350 m elevation. Habitat dry, mostly sandy or shaly uplands (Kral 1993). See also Thompson et al. (1999). Hardy to Zone 6 (cold hardiness limit between -23.2°C and -17.8°C) (Bannister and Neuner 2001).

Distribution data from USGS (1999). Points represent isolated or approximate locations.

Big tree

Diameter 78 cm, height 29 m, crown spread 14 m, located in Stokes County, NC (American Forests 1996). The three tallest known ones are in Paris Mountain State Park, South Carolina; they are 26.85 to 29.96 m tall (Rucker 2003).


Pederson (2006) reports a crossdated age of 232 years for specimen GKA111 collected at Griffith Knob, Virginia by G. DeWeese, H. Grissino-Mayer, and C. Lafon.



Used for pulpwood and firewood (Kral 1993).




American Forests 1996. The 1996-1997 National Register of Big Trees. Washington, DC: American Forests. This is a dated citation; the big tree register is now available online.

Lambert, A. B. 1805. On a new species of Pinus. Ann. Bot. (Koenig & Sims) 2:198.

Pederson, Neil. 2006. Eastern OLDLIST: A database of maximum tree ages for Eastern North America. Accessed 2006.09.08.

See also

Gucker, Corey. 2007. Early postfire response of southern Appalachian Table Mountain-pitch pine stands to prescribed fires in North Carolina and Virginia., accessed 2009.03.28.

Knebel ond Wentworth (2007).

FEIS database.

Last Modified 2017-12-29