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A beautiful longleaf pine on a drive through Cocoa Beach, Florida. This tree, similar to the palmetto, is one of the South's iconic trees. It is the state tree of Alabama. These massive giants grow to heights over 130 feet despite just being two feet across in diameter. They take over a hundred years to grow to this height and can live to be almost 500. Incredibly, they're also what's known as pyrophytic, which means they resist wildfires. Periodic wildfires help this species thrive, creating entire forests and savannahs of longleaf pines after wildfires. The longleaf pine is group with the Southern yellow pines group, Longleaf pine forests are havens of biodiversity, giving home to red cockaded woodpeckers and gopher tortoises. Animals now listed as endangered due to a decline of longleaf pine forests. Longleaf pine forests also host nine salamander species and twenty-six frog species are characteristic of pine savannas, along with fifty-six species of reptiles. Their cones are very nutritious and attract several species of birds. Sadly for all this good, the longleaf pine is endangered itself.
Native to the Southeastern United States, found along the coastal plain from East Texas to southern Maryland, extending into northern and central Florida.
Spotted on Oct 5, 2020
Submitted on Oct 5, 2020