The dwarf loblolly pines (Pinus taeda NCSU Dwarf Group) are among the finest and most unique plants at the JC Raulston Arboretum, being the world's only collection of dwarf loblolly pines. Unlike typical loblolly pines found throughout the South, these are slow growing, with handsome dense rounded crowns.
The collection originated from research conducted by the Forestry School at NC State University on abnormal growths that occur in loblolly pines, called witch's brooms. Hoping to produce new and improved trees for the forestry industry, seeds from pinecones from the witch's brooms were collected and planted from 1964 to 1967. The offspring did not develop into the anticipated faster growing loblolly pines desired by the forest industry, but instead resulted in these dwarf, dense, slow-growing pines. Recognizing the potential ornamental value of these plants, they were given to the Department of Horticultural Science at NC State University. Twenty six specimens are presently located throughout the JC Raulston Arboretum.
These dwarf loblolly pines have proven to be well adapted to the hot summers of the South. Introduction to the nursery industry remains restricted by the difficulty in their propagation.