Before the industrialist loggers of the early 20th century arrived, the Longleaf Pine dominated the upland areas surrounding the Okefenokee Swamp. Because of its ability to survive wildfires in its fire resistant “grass stage”, the Longleaf is well suited to the fire prone South Georgia landscape. The thick, grassy clump of needles protects the bud as fire sweeps through and stimulates it to the next growth stage…
It can remain in the grass stage for years, but once the root base is established, it will rapidly take off into the “bottle brush” stage – a four-foot tall, branchless seedling that resembles a cobweb duster. It may stay in this stage for a period of time, but can adequately take in needed sunlight by staying above the lower scrub and vegetation.
After about 30 years from germination, the Longleaf Pine stands tall and nearly branchless up to the crown, resembling a green topped telephone pole. Mature stands of Longleaf Pine are essential habitat for the Red-cockaded Woodpecker.
iNaturalist observation: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/57855126