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Search for native plants by scientific name, common name or family. If you are not sure what you are looking for, try the Combination Search or our Recommended Species lists.

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Pinus contorta (Lodgepole pine)
Loughmiller, Campbell and Lynn

Pinus contorta

Pinus contorta Douglas ex Loudon

Lodgepole Pine, Beach Pine, Pino De San Pedro Martir

Pinaceae (Pine Family)


USDA Symbol: pico

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), AK (N), CAN (N)

Lodgepole pine or beach pine is a small pine that grows quickly to 20 ft. and may reach from 30 - 150 feet at maturity, depending on variety. It has a crooked, windswept, dense habit and dark-green needles. Mature bark is red-brown and scaly. Cones are small, numerous and slow to open. Widely distributed pine that may grow tall with narrow, dense, conical crown, or remain small with broad, rounded crown; 3 geographic varieties.

Lodgepole Pine is one of the most widely distributed New World pines and the only conifer native in both Alaska and Mexico. Its name refers to the use by American Indians of the slender trunks as poles for their conical tents or teepees. Shore Pine (var. contorta), the Pacific Coast variety, is a small tree with spreading crown, thick, furrowed bark, short leaves, and oblique cones pointing backward, opening at maturity but remaining attached. Sierra Lodgepole Pine (var. murrayana (Grev. & Balf.) Engelm.), of the Cascade Mountains of southwestern Washington and western Oregon, the Sierra Nevada of central California, and south to northern Baja California, is a tall, narrow tree with thin, scaly bark, relatively broad leaves, and symmetrical, lightweight cones opening at maturity and shedding within a few years. Lodgepole Pine or Rocky Mountain Lodgepole Pine (var. latifolia Engelm.), of the Rocky Mountain region, is a tall, narrow tree with thin, scaly bark, long needles, and cones often oblique and pointing outward. This variety is adapted to forest fires, often with cones that remain tightly closed on the trees many years until a fire destroys the forest. When the heat causes the cones to open, the seeds fall to the bare ground to begin a new forest. This variety is also able to reproduce without fire, and in some areas most of the trees release their seeds without the heat of fire.


From the Image Gallery

6 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Tree
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Leaf Arrangement: Fascicled
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Shape: Linear
Breeding System: Flowers Unisexual , Monoecious
Fruit Type: Cone
Size Notes: Up to about 150 feet tall. Some varieties much shorter.
Leaf: Green

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Jun


USA: AK , CA , CO , ID , MT , NV , OR , SD , UT , WA , WY
Canada: AB , SK
Native Distribution: Coast from northern Baja California in the south to Alaska in the north
Native Habitat: Low elevation, coastal areas

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
CaCO3 Tolerance: High
Soil Description: Rocky soils.
Conditions Comments: Beach pine is not particularly drought tolerant. It is fast growing and tolerates salt spray, high winds and sterile dune soils.

Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)

Western Pine Elfin
(Callophrys eryphon)

Larval Host
Learn more at BAMONA


Description: Easily propagated by seed.
Seed Collection: Older, unopened cones will release their seeds if stored in a warm, dry place.
Seed Treatment: Pretreatment is usually not necessary, but germination of seeds exhibiting dormancy can be hastened by 1 month cold stratification.
Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.

View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR


Bibref 1186 - Field Guide to Moths of Eastern North America (2005) Covell, C.V., Jr.
Bibref 1185 - Field Guide to Western Butterflies (Peterson Field Guides) (1999) Opler, P.A. and A.B. Wright

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 3 - Flora of North America (2014) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.

From the Archive

Wildflower Newsletter 1984 VOL. 1, NO.4 - Lady Bird Heartened by Progress, Horticultural Society Annual Meeting Held, Dire...

Additional resources

USDA: Find Pinus contorta in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Pinus contorta in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Pinus contorta


Record Modified: 2022-10-07
Research By: TWC Staff

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