Scientific Name(s): Pinus taeda
Where: prefer low wet areas, landscaping
When: all year
Nutritional Value: vitamin C
Dangers: needles also contain phytoestrogens which can cause miscarriages.
Loblolly needles are very long with three joined at the base.
Texas distribution, attributed to U. S. Department of Agriculture. The marked counties are guidelines only. Plants may appear in other counties, especially if used in landscaping.
North American distribution, attributed to U. S. Department of Agriculture.
Majestic loblolly trees, over 100ft tall at maturity, are often referred to as "telephone pole trees" as their long, thick, straight trunks made great telephone poles back in the day. They prefer low, wet areas but their vigorous growth and cheap price make them a popular landscaping tree in urban areas.
Like the pines of the north which Sacajawea used to cure scurvy in Lewis & Clark's men, loblolly pine needles are rich in vitamin C. However, they also contain phytoestrogen molecules which can lead to miscarriages in women. For this reason, pregnant women should avoid drinking pine needle tea whether from loblollys or other pines. To make pine tea dice up fresh, green pine needles and soak them in hot but not boiling water for up to ten minutes. If boiled, the resulting tea will end up containing a high concentration of unpleasant-tasting terpenes.
Unlike most eastern/northern white pines, the inner bark of the loblolly pine is not considered a source of food/calories, which is a bummer because the cambium layer (inner bark) of white pines is delicious after cooking.
In the spring yellow pine pollen coats everything around these trees. This pollen is chemically almost exactly identical to the male hormone testosterone and can be purchased over the internet as a testosterone supplement. Native American warriors would carry a small bag of this pollen with them to eat before battles to "pump them up" for the coming fight.