Plants of the New Jersey Pinelands (Pine Barrens)
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The New Jersey Pine Barrens, or Pinelands, is a unique natural area covering over 1 million acres of the Outer Coastal Plain in southern and central New Jersey (click here for map). The soils are sandy and acidic, and fires were historically common. As a result, many species are fire-adapted. The dominant pine species in fire-prone areas is Pinus rigida (Pitch Pine). For geologic and climatic reasons, partially relating to glaciation events, many species are at their range limit (northern or southern) in the Pinelands.

red maple

A large part of the pinelands is protected by state and federal legislation. The New Jersey Pinelands Commission is an organization that oversees the management of the outer, Protection Area of the pinelands, and the inner, Preservation Area. The global significance of the pinelands is shown by its designation as the Pinelands National Reserve in 1978, and as a United Nations International Biosphere Reserve in 1983.


This Web site contains a collection of color photographs of 61 New Jersey Pinelands plants. Below each photograph are the scientific and common names of the plant, the family to which it belongs, its approximate height at maturity, a brief description of the plant and its habitat, and the place where the photograph was taken. Taxonomy follows that found in "A Field Guide to the Pine Barrens of New Jersey", by Howard P. Boyd.


The main purposes of this site are to increase people's knowledge and appreciation of New Jersey Pine Barrens plants, and to show that pinelands plants can be attractive landscape plants. The Pinelands Comprehensive Management Plan requires that, in certain areas, 80% of the plants used for landscaping be native pinelands species. This web site is maintained by Dr. Michael F. Gross of Georgian Court University, for use in biology courses, as well as by the general public. While all of the plants shown can be found in the pinelands, not all of them are considered common, or characteristic of, the pinelands. Georgian Court University is located in the ecological pine barrens, but not in the areas protected by legislation. Many pinelands plants grow in the university's arboretum, or on other parts of the campus.


Many of the photographs on these web pages were taken at Lakewood's Lake Carasaljo. Lakewood and a large portion of the New Jersey Pinelands are in the Barnegat Bay Watershed, whose waters enter the Barnegat Bay Estuary, which is part of the National Estuary Program.

goat's rue

Free use of the materials at this site is granted for non-profit purposes only, provided that the source of the materials is acknowledged.

Please direct any comments about these pages to Dr. Michael Gross (732.987.2373) at:


  • Boyd, HP. 1991. A field guide to the Pine Barrens of New Jersey. Plexus Publishing, Medford, NJ. 423 p.
  • Boyd, HP.  1997.  A Pine barrens odyssey.  Plexus Publishing, Medford, NJ.  277 p.
  • Boyd, HP.  2001.  Wildflowers of the Pine Barrens of New Jersey.  Plexus Publishing, Medford, NJ.  163 p.
  • Clemants, S and C Gracie.  2006.  Wildflowers in the field and forest:  A field guide to the northeastern United States.  Oxford University Press, New York.  445 p.
  • Collins, BR and KH Anderson. 1994. Plant communities of New Jersey. Rutgers Univ. Press, New Brunswick, NJ. 287 p.
  • Forman, RTT. 1998. Pine Barrens: ecosystems and landscape. Rutgers Univ. Press, New Brunswick, NJ. 601 p.
  • Harshberger, JW. 1916. The vegetation of the New Jersey Pine- Barrens. Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, NY. 329 p.
  • Hough, MY. 1983. New Jersey wild plants. Harmony Press, Harmony, NJ. 414 p.
  • Newcomb, L. 1977. Newcomb's wildflower guide. Little, Brown and Co., NY. 490 p.
  • Peterson, TP and M McKenny. 1968. A field guide to wildflowers: Northeastern and Northcentral North America. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, MA. 420 p.
  • Petrides, GA. 1972. A field guide to trees and shrubs, 2nd ed. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, MA. 428 p.

Contact the State of New Jersey Pinelands Commission for information about Pinelands protection, curriculum guides, audio- visual aids, and other Pinelands educational materials:

Gaultheria in snowNew Jersey Pinelands Commission
P.O. Box 7
15 Springfield Road
New Lisbon, NJ 08064
Telephone: 609-894-7300

Attend the NJ Pinelands Commission's Annual Pinelands Short Course:

Related Sites


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[ Contents and photos by Dr. Michael F. Gross ]

Belorussian translation at provided by Amanda Lynn. 

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