Pitch Pine
Pinus rigidaPinaceae
Whole Plant
Whole PlantFlowerFlowerFlower
Photos (c) Cheryl Comeau Beaton unless otherwise noted


  • none

The Plant:

  • A cone-bearing, evergreen tree, 40-60 feet tall.

The Leaves:

  • 2-5 inches long needles
  • 3 needles per fasicle
  • stout
  • coarse
  • mostly twisted
  • yellow-green to green

The Stem:

  • twigs orange-brown
  • stout
  • bark dark, scaly when young
  • red-brown to yellow-brown, thick rectangular plates
  • deep furrows

The Flowers:

  • Yellow to red female flowers with small curved scales. Cylindrical cones grow in large clusters at twig tips.

The Fruits:

  • Cones
  • ovoid
  • 2-4 inches long
  • light brown
  • short, stout prickles
  • cones persist for years
  • mature in fall.

The Habitat:

  • heathlands
  • roadsides, disturbed areas


  • wind-dispersed seeds
  • birds and mammals eat seeds

Key ID Features:

  • buds narrow, ovoid
  • light gray-brown
  • twigs orange brown
  • thick rectangular plates on bark
  • deep furrows
  • 3 twisted needles per fasicle


  • While this species is native to Massachusetts, it is not native to Nantucket. More information is needed about the distribution of this species on the island.

Growth Form: Tree

Origin: United States, Northeast United States

Level of Invasiveness for Nantucket: Invasive

Level of Invasiveness for Massachusetts: Not evaluated

Massachusetts Cultivation Restrictions: no

Credits: The Electronic Field Guide to the Invasive Plants of Nantucket (c) 2005-2006 Maria Mitchell Association, EFG Project, UMass Boston