The spruce pine produces cones during its 10th year, but produces the most cones between ages 20 and 40. The pollen cones grow on the weaker branches, and below the seed cones. The cones first appear in February and March–the farther north the tree is located, the later in March the cones first appear. The cones mature in their second year-during September and October. Seeds are not released until November.
Spruce pine, also called cedar-pine or bottom-white pine, is a member of the southern yellow pine group. It is the most shade-tolerant species of southern pine and is scattered throughout the southeast in mixed hardwood stands, rarely occurring in pure stands. The wood from spruce pine is brittle and close-grained. It lacks durability and has little commercial value, except as a pulpwood. Occasionally, spruce pines are grown for Christmas trees because of their attractive coloring and spruce-like appearance. The trees provide important resources for numerous wildlife species, including bobwhite quail and squirrels, who eat the seeds. Songbirds, owls, and hawks all use the trees for cover or nesting. Spruce pine occurs from South Carolina, west to Louisiana, and south into central Florida.