The State Tree of Arkansas

loblolly-pineOur home town is tucked in the Ozarks, so we know a little something about trees. One of the many nice things about Fayetteville is that there are trees everywhere. Next to buildings, next to stop lights, next to other trees. We get to see beautiful spring blooms and lovely fall leaves. The winter can leave trees a little bare, but the state tree of Arkansas stays green all year-round.

Arkansas made the loblolly pine the official state tree back in 1939. There are four types of pine trees that are native to Arkansas: the shortleaft pine, longleaf, pine, slash pine, and loblolly pine. The loblolly was chosen because it was the most fun to say (this is based purely on conjecture). Here are some facts about the state tree of Arkansas.

  • The scientific name for the loblolly pine is Pinus taeda
  • Lob refers to bubbling porridge and lolly is a British term for food from a pot. In the US loblolly is a term for a swampy area. Loblollies are abundant in lowlands and swampy areas!
  • They typically grow up to 115 ft. tall, but the tallest known loblolly today is 169 ft. tall!
  • Many of those old telephone poles you see were loblolly pines.
  • Loblolly pines are the second most abundant tree species in the US. The first is red maple (also found in Arkansas!).
  • It was the first pine to have its complete genome sequenced.
  • There are 20.15 billion base pairs in the loblolly’s genome. That’s 7 times larger than the human genome!
  • The most famous loblolly might be the “Eisenhower Tree” on the 17th hole of the Augusta National Golf Club. Apparently the president had a knack for hitting that tree.
  • The “Morris Pine” is another famous loblolly and it’s located here in Arkansas! The tree is over 300 years old and lives in Ashley County.

So now you know a little more about the state tree of Arkansas. Let’s hear it for the loblolly!

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