Virginia pine (Pinus virginiana)
Pinaceae, the pine family

How to recognize Virginia pine. When most people think of conifers, they think of pine (genus Pinus in the family Pinaceae), although a spruce or fir is very likely to be called a “pine tree” by somebody not yet familiar with the fine points of plant identification. Pines are needle-leaved evergreens, the leaves of which, except those of a Great Basin species aptly named Pinus monophylla, are bundled together in sheathed fascicles of 2-5. There are only four native pines in Ohio: shortleaf (P. echinata), pitch (P. rigida), white (P. strobus), and Virginia pine/scrub pine (Pinus virginiana).

Here’s Virginia/scrub pine. This species, a typical “southern yellow pine” naturally occurs in dry open areas in the southern (unglaciated) portion of the state. These Virginia pines are planted along a roadside in north-central Ohio.

Pinus virginiana roadside

Virginia pine along a roadside in central Ohio.
The species is native to unglaciated southeastern Ohio.

 Virginia pine seed cone scales are distinctively spine-tipped. The leaves are short, and bundled in twos.

Pinus virginiana branch

Virginia pine needles are in bundles of two, and the cone scales are pointed.

Closeup, it is evident that the leaves are in bundles (fascicles) enveloped at their bases by a papery sheath.

Pinus virginiana leaves

Virginia pine leaves are in fascicles of two leaves each.

Scanned Image from an Old Book
(Flora of West Virginia, by P.D. Strausbaugh and Earl L. Core)

Virginia pine is on the left.

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