The pitch pine's habitat is mainly in woodlands and at the margins of wetlands, but it can survive anywhere from dry acidic sandy areas to swampy marshlands. They are known as pioneer and are often the first trees to colonize a site after it's been cleared, showcasing thier ability to survive in poor areas. They are native to a large portion of the eastern United States, especially the New England area. In fact, they are the primary tree in the New Jersey Pine Barrens.
Origin, history, and uses:
Since the pitch pine typically has an irregular or crooked trunk and doesn’t grow as fast as some other trees, it hasn’t historically been a favorite tree for lumber. However, not surprisingly pitch from the pitch pine was very popular and was used for ship building and railroad ties. The Cherokee people also used the pitch for canoe building, while the Iroquois and Shinnecock used it for boils and other medical ailments. Later, pitch pine became a major ingredient in turpentine, which was used to treat bronchitis, coughing, common colds, and influenza. The wood’s high resin content prevents decay so the wood was occaisonally used for large-scale wood constructions in later times as well. Currently, the pitch pine tree is mostly used for refroestation efforts and pulpwood.
Dates and times of different events in the pitch pine's life cycle occur at different times depending on location, but in general the pine cones are open for pollination in April and May. The seeds are then shed soon after pollination, in August, September, or October. Some cones are serotinous, and tend to stay on the tree and not open for longer.