[Loblolly pines on the Chesapeake Bay,
by A. Aubrey Bodine. Mariners’ Museum]

We have four pines that grow naturally on Maryland’s Eastern Shore and in lower Delaware – Loblolly, Shortleaf, Virginia Pine, and Eastern White Pine.  Loblolly is by far the most common pine species.

Here is how to tell them apart.

(Photos from Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Trees: Eastern Region.  Buy it here.)

Loblolly Pine
Pinus taeda

Needles 5-9″ long
3 needles per bundle

Shortleaf Pine
Pinus echinata

Needles 2.75-4.5″ long
2-3 needles per bundle

Virginia Pine
Pinus virginiana

Needles 1.5-3″ long
2 needles per bundle

Eastern White Pine
Pinus strobus

Needles 2.5-5″ long
5 needles per bundle

Longleaf Pine, the southern yellow pine species which is preferred for modern wooden boatbuilding, is not on the list.  It doesn’t grown in Maryland, Delaware, or on the shores of the Chesapeake.  If you’re looking at Longleaf Pine lumber, it probably came from North Carolina or Georgia.