The cones often stay on the tree for several years and sometimes don’t release their seeds until the second year.
Another name for Pinus virginiana is Scrub Pine or Jersey Pine. They grow well on poor, dry upland soil and are often used to reforest an area. I believe they were planted here for that purpose because I don’t see them throughout the area. They provide food for small mammals and birds as well as cover. You can click on the photo for larger views.
The needles are in pairs. I first learned to identify this conifer from the Naturalist at Cacapon State Park in WV. She said for our area you could remember that it was a Virginia Pine because when you held the base of the needle pair in your hand it formed a “V” for Virginia. But as I learned during my trip to Eastern Maryland this past summer you need to be careful because I found two leaf needles that are not Virginia Pine. The Loblolly Pines have two needles but they are much longer and not twisted like the Virginia variety.
The mature female cones are rather prickly as you can see from this photo taken in the same area in April earlier this year.
These needles had a blub like growth at the base. I suspect they are the beginnings of the male reproductive part but I am not certain. I haven't found anything about them yet but I am still searching.