23. Pinus pungens Lambert, Ann. Bot. (London). 2: 198. 1805.
Table mountain pine, mountain pine
Trees to 12m; trunk to 0.6m diam., straight to crooked, erect to leaning, poorly self-pruning; crown irregularly rounded or flattened. Bark red- to gray-brown, irregularly checked into scaly plates. Branches horizontally spreading; twigs slender, orange- to yellow-brown, aging darker brown, rough. Buds ovoid to cylindric, red-brown, 0.6--0.9cm, resinous. Leaves 2(--3) per fascicle, spreading or ascending, persisting 3 years, 3--6(--8)cm ´ 1--1.5mm, twisted, deep yellow-green, all surfaces with fine stomatal lines, margins harshly serrulate, apex acute to short-acuminate; sheath 0.5--1cm, base persistent. Pollen cones ellipsoid, ca. 15mm, yellow. Seed cones maturing in 2 years, variably serotinous, mostly whorled, downcurved, asymmetric, ovoid before opening, broadly ovoid when open, (4--)6--10cm, gray- to pale red-brown, nearly sessile or on stalks to 1cm; apophyses thickened, diamond-shaped, strongly keeled, elongate, mammillate at cone base abaxially; umbo central, a stout, curved, sharp claw. Seeds deltoid-obovoid, oblique; body ca. 6mm, deep purple-brown to black; wing 10--20(--30)mm. 2 n =24.
Dry, mostly sandy or shaly uplands; Appalachians and associated Piedmont; 500--1350m; Del., Ga., Md., N.J., N.C., Pa., S.C., Tenn., Va., W.Va.
Pinus pungens is a scrub pine and is too small and knotty to be much utilized except for pulpwood and firewood. Its common name refers to a general type of landform, not to a specific, named mountain.