Longleaf pine hybridization: is there a growing problem?This article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
Longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) seedlings grown from seeds collected from two seed orchards in 2014 showed evidence of hybridization with loblolly pine—as much as 80 percent had some stem elongation in the container nursery. This stem elongation, however, was not to the extent that has typically characterized bareroot seedlings of Sonderegger pine (P. x sondereggeri), the recognized hybrid of longleaf and loblolly (P. taeda) pine. Seedlings from these collections were quantified and outplanted. These outplanted seedlings were tracked to determine if they were Sonderegger pine and analyzed by DNA techniques to confirm their taxonomic status. The results indicate that hybridization has not occurred. Seedling development following outplanting and DNA analyses indicate these seedlings are not markedly different from those of typical longleaf pine. The reason for the unusual stem elongation in the nursery has not been determined.