Pinus palustris


Pinus palustris — Longleaf Pine “grass stage,” Carolina Beach State Park


Another good picture of the “grass stage” and some interesting information at

“Seedling longleaf pines are unique. They show no development of a trunk for the first 3-15 years (average about 5 years) of their lives. Instead they remain in a “grass” stage while they develop a large tap root and root system. During this period, the longleaf pine looks very much like a clump of grass. When the time is right, the young pine bolts upward, as much as 3-5 ft (0.9-1.5 m) in the first year.”

In fact, this specimen has passed the grass stage and is already bolting upwards.

Most interesting to note how similar Pinus palustris in its grass stage is to specimens of the family Xanthorrhoeaceae ( see:[…]7/004738.jpg ).

Convergent evolution?

umkomasia said:

In fact, this specimen has passed the grass stage and is already bolting upwards.

It was only about a foot tall (in October), if I missed the grass stage, then it must have only been a few months out of it.

I was taken aback too by how much it looked like the Australian Grass Tree (Xanthorrhoea) too. However, having had a look around the webs, they start to dramatically differ thereafter.

It is quite a spooky thing to have a grass tree in your yard and watch it grow around 1cm a year but every so often shoot out a flower stalk that grows about 3 cm a day! Also spooky is watching them recover what seems almost overnight after a fire.

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This page contains a single entry by Reed A. Cartwright published on April 13, 2009 12:00 PM.

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