Page authors: Ben Legler, David Giblin
Pinus contorta
lodgepole pine
Female cone with spine-tipped scales. The cones remain on the tree for several years before falling.

Distribution: Occurring on both sides of the Cascades crest in Washington; Alaska to California, east to the Rocky Mountains and South Dakota.

Habitat: Dry montane forests, rocky balds, coastal bluffs and sand dunes, and sphagnum bogs.

Cones: April-June

Origin: Native

Conservation Status: Not of concern


Small tree 10-30 meters tall; crown rounded and billowy to narrow and straight.


Thin, to 2-2.5 cm thick; reddish brown to gray or black, furrowed or scaly.


Needle-like, 3-6 cm long, in fascicles (groups) of 2 born alternately along stem.


Female cones 3-6 cm long, scales with sharply pointed tip; male pollen cones to 1 cm long, reddish-green.

Identification Notes:

The only pine in our area with normally 2 needles per fascicle; cones are spine-tipped. Pinus albicaulis can look similar in appearance, but has 5 needles per fascicle, cone scales without spiny tips, and grows at high elevations.

Accepted Name:
Pinus contorta Douglas ex Loudon
Publication: Arbor. Frutic. Brit. 4: 2292, figs. 2210, 2211. 1838. 1838.

Synonyms & Misapplications:
(none provided)
var. contorta – shore pine    Occurring west of the Cascades crest in Washington; Alaska south along the coast to northern California.
var. latifolia – lodgepole pine    Occurring on both sides of the Cascades crest in Washington; Yukon Territory to Oregon, east to the Rocky Mountains.
Additional Resources:

PNW Herbaria: Specimen records of Pinus contorta in the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria database.

WA Flora Checklist: Pinus contorta checklist entry.

E-Flora BC: Pinus contorta atlas page.

CalPhotos: Pinus contorta photos.

USDA Plants: Pinus contorta information.

52 photographs:
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