7 Familiar Types of Pine Trees in Illinois


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The state of Illinois is home to 142 state parks and natural areas and two separate national forests so it is no stranger to many different types of trees. These include trees such as American elm, American beech, pawpaw, holly, sweetgum, oak, sycamore, and, of course, the pine tree. Various types of pine trees dot many a landscape across the state of Illinois, enabling each of those landscapes to be aesthetically appealing.

Pine trees are part of the evergreen family and are coniferous and resinous trees. They usually get to around 150 feet in height, although some of the taller ones have gotten up to 260 feet. They live anywhere between 100 and 1 000 years and in addition to needles, they have three other types of leaves as well.

The terrain in the state varies from the swamps and waterways in the southern part to caves and forests in the western part and tall grass prairies in the northeastern part of the state. The pine trees found throughout the state vary by type but they are all beautiful trees that not only look good but are also very useful in the manufacturing and construction industries.

Indeed, pine is a very hard type of wood that lasts a very long time. If you’re curious about which of these trees is found in the state of Illinois, keep reading.

1. Eastern White Pine (Pinus strobus L.)

Eastern-White-Pine-Trees-Pinus-strobus
Eastern White Pine Tree (Pinus strobus)

This type of pine tree has needles that always have new growth in the summer. Their seed cones are long and slender, and most of the trees are 180 feet in height or smaller. Some of them, however, have been known to get as high as 230 feet. The Eastern white pine is a tall, elegant tree that certainly demands attention.

People use this pine tree’s wood for products such as ships, barns, furniture, and various construction projects. It has even been used in some artwork because it is a very versatile wood.

2. Red Pine (Pinus resinosa Aiton)

Red pine trees grow to 120-140 feet high, although most of them tend to be on the lower end of that number. Their bark changes colors depending on which part of the trunk you’re viewing, and the colors range from a grayish-brown to a bright orange-red color. It is a stately tree with yellowish-green needles that grow in groups of two.

3. Shortleaf Pine (Pinus echinata Mill.)

Shortleaf Pine (Pinus echinata)
Kenraiz Shortleaf Pine (Pinus echinata)

Shortleaf pines are commonplace in the eastern part of the United States in states such as Pennsylvania and Virginia and some parts of the southwest.

It can get up to 100 feet high, and its trunk can get up to three feet in diameter. If the soil isn’t the best where you live, you might want to consider this type of pine tree because it tends to grow in nearly all soil conditions.

One of the most interesting facts about the shortleaf pine is that its trunks can be oddly shaped or irregular. Even so, the wood can be used as lumber, wood pulp, and plywood veneer. The tree itself has 3-inch-long cones that have very short prickles.

4. Virginia Pine (Pinus virginiana)

Virginia pine Pinus virginiana 1
Virginia pine (Pinus virginiana)

The Virginia pine also goes by the name Jersey or scrub pine, and it is one of the smallest of the pine trees, usually getting no more than 60 feet in height. With short, yellow-green leaves, the wood of this tree is often used for lumber and wood pulp. You can also find this type of pine tree on Christmas tree farms, and it even provides nourishment for wildlife.

5. Pitlolly Pine Hybrid (Pinus rigida x taeda)

Pitlolly Hybrid Pine
fastgrowingtrees.us Pitlolly Hybrid Pine

The foliage on this pine tree is gorgeous and has a shiny, glossy look. Because the tree is a hybrid, it offers both sturdiness and the ability to grow fast. It doesn’t get that tall — usually no more than 40 feet high — but it is an elegant-looking tree nonetheless. Last but not least, the tree is super-easy to grow because it does well in most soil types.

Because this type of pine tree does well in so many soil conditions, including poor soil, it is a very easy tree to grow. It is also commonly found in Ohio and Pennsylvania.

6. Pitch Pine (Pinus rigida)

Pitch-Pine-Pinus-Rigida-1
Famartin | wikimedia Pitch Pine – Pinus Rigida

Growing 20-100 feet high, this tree is a common site to see in the northeastern part of the United States. It has an irregular shape and twisted branches, which limit the use of the wood. Nevertheless, it is commonly used to build ships and railroad ties, but never construction projects.

The needles on the pitch pine are in bundles of three and grow very fast in the first few years of life.

7. Table Mountain Pine (Pinus pungens)

Table Mountain Pine Pinus pungens
Table Mountain Pine (Pinus pungens)

The table mountain pine is a white pine tree found mostly in the Appalachian area of the United States and similar locations such as the state of Georgia. They only get to 40 feet at the biggest, and their needles grow in bundles of two. Their cones have short stalks and are actually seedless, and the color ranges from yellow to pale pink.

Also called a hickory or prickly pine tree, it prefers dry conditions and is often seen on rocky slopes and similar locations.

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