Longleaf pine is a beautiful large "yellow" pine in the Southern US. There are three closely related 3-needle pines in the south: longleaf, slash, and loblolly. Longleaf has needles up to 46 cm (18 in) long, with stout twigs and silvery buds and cones 15 to 25 cm (6 to 10 in) long with small incurved prickles on the scales. The other pines have shorter cones 5 to 15 cm (2 to 6 in) with a sharp prickle on the scales, and red-brown buds.
Birds and small mammals eat the large seeds, ants feed on germinating seeds, and razorback hogs eat the roots of seedlings. Longleaf pine needles are used extensively for mulch. In pre-settlement times it was a major source of timber and naval stores (for rosins). It covered over 60 million acres, or most of the southern coastal plain. Now fewer than 4 million acres have these valuable pines.