Pinus rigida, the pitch pine, is a small-to-medium-sized (6–30 m or 20–98 ft) pine. It is native to eastern North America, from central Maine south to Georgia and as far west as Kentucky, and in two pockets along the St. Lawrence River in southern Quebec and Ontario.
It is found in environments which other species would find unsuitable for growth such as acidic, sandy, and low nutrient soils. This species occasionally hybridizes with other pine species such as loblolly pine (Pinus taeda), shortleaf pine (Pinus echinata), and pond pine (Pinus serotina); the last is treated as a subspecies of pitch pine by some botanists.
Pitch pine is found mainly in the southern areas of the northeastern United States, from coastal Maine and Ohio to Kentucky and northern Georgia. A few stands occur in southern Quebec and Ontario. It is known as a pioneer species and is often the first tree to vegetate a site after it has been cleared away. In extreme conditions, it is a climax vegetation type. But in most cases, it is replaced by oaks and other hardwoods.
This pine occupies a variety of habitats from dry acidic sandy uplands to swampy lowlands, and can survive in very poor conditions; it is the primary tree of the New Jersey Pine Barrens.