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Woody > Pinus > Pinus rigida > Pinus rigida

Pinus rigida

Pitch Pine, Northern Pitch Pine, Sap Pine

Origin:  Eastern North America
            Mike's Opinion

this is Mike


Pinus rigida is a medium-sized true pine. It is very resinous which gives it a very distinct smell. First Nation’s people used this tree for torches, canoes, carving and medicine for many physical ailments. It is also fire resistant, which is a very unusual characteristic of the pines.

Michael Pascoe, NDP., ODH., CLT., MSc. (Plant Conservation)


Tree (evergreen)
USDA Hardiness Zone
4 - 7
Canadian Hardiness Zone
3 - 6
RHS Hardiness Zone
H5 - H7
Temperature (°C)
-34 - (-12)
Temperature (°F)
-30 - 10
12 - 18 m
Description and Growing Information
Flowering Period
General Description
Pinus rigida is a true pine tree with very rigid, twisting branches and an open pyramidal form.
Not often used in a cultivated landscape. May be used in a forest setting or in poor soils where other trees will not flourish.
Grow in full sun, in moist, well-drained soil. Intolerant of shade but can be grown in poor or dry soils. Also salt tolerant.
Very open and pyramidal.
ID Characteristic
Very rounded, sharp cones that last for several years; three needles per fascicle; very open growth compared to other pines.
A possible pest is the southern pine beetle. Sweet fern blister rust will cause cankers. Most infections occur in trees under 10 years.
Dry, steep ridges and plains; moist river valleys and swamps.
Bark/Stem Description
Light red-brown colour with very deep ridges. The surface looks quite rough, especially when young bark is peeling.
Flower/Leaf Bud Description
Scaled, globose, dark brown, very resinous.
Leaf Description
Needles up to 15 cm long, in bundles of 3, very rigid, with a twisted look. They are shed after 2 - 3 years.
Flower Description
Consist of many pollen cones, light beige sometimes with red at the tip.
Fruit Description
Light brown cones with very sharp ridges are almost perfectly round: 3 - 9 cm in both height and width. Fruit is not shed for 2 - 3 years, during which time they are difficult to detach from the tree.
Colour Description
Needles are a rich, light evergreen, sometimes varying to green-yellow. Cones are light green while developing and light brown during growth. Mature cones are dark brown. Buds are dark brown and covered in a white resin. Flowers are light beige.
Texture Description
The bark is very coarse.
Notable Specimens
Niagara Parks Botanical Garden, Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. The Memorial University of Newfoundland Botanical Garden, St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada.
Most commonly by seed in the wild but can also reproduce asexually through basal sprouting and epicormic shoots. The fact that it is monoecious can be problematic as outcrossing is common, causing inbred defects.
Gelderen, D. M. van, and J. R. P. van Smith. 'Conifers'. Portland, Or.: Published in cooperation with Royal Boskoop Horticultural Society by Timber Press, 1986. Print. Jane, F. W.. 'Conifers'. 4th ed. Upminster (44 Claremont Gardens, Upminster, Essex RM14 1DN): School Natural Science Society, 1971. Print.