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Slash Pines

Sheila Brown

In the early years of European settlement of Florida, supplies had to be brought from Europe and sailing ships were their mode of transportation. When a new mast was needed while in Florida, the repair crew would head inland where they thought the strongest, straightest pines grew along the edges of low wet areas – places they called “slashes” – hence they called those special pines “slash pines”. South Florida is relatively flat and during the rainy season vast areas of shallow water covered the land so the mast seekers had to “slosh” (another term that may be related to “slash”) their way to the trees. At first it was believed that these pines from the slashes were longleaf or loblolly pines, but with study of their differences, in the early 1800s, they became recognized as a new species – Pinus elliottii, the Slash Pine.