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Lodgepole Pine
Pinus contorta
About Lodgepole Pine (Pinus contorta) Nurseries Show All Photos Pinus contorta is a common tree in western North America with the bulk of its population to the north and east of California. Within California it is found primarily in the Sierras, with scattered populations in other mountains. There are three recognized subspecies which can vary greatly in appearance. In the Sierras ssp. Murrayana can be very tall with a straight trunk, consistent with the common name Lodgepole Pine. It is found at elevations from 1,500 ft. to 12,000 ft. Near the coast ssp. contorta can be shrub height with twisted trunk and branches and known as Beach Pine. It is found from sea level to about 2,000 ft. Ssp. bolanderi is a rare species from the coast of Mendocino County northward to Oregon.

Pinus contorta is a moderately important timber wood but not often used in landscaping. The needles are held in bundles of two. The cones of may be of either the closed or open type and remain on the tree for many years. The bark is relatively thin and susceptible to fire.
Plant Description
Plant Type

Max. Height
30 - 112 ft (9.1 - 34.1 m)

Max. Width
40 ft (12.2 m)


Fragrant - Pleasant

Growth Rate


Flower Color

Flowering Season

Native Status

Natural Setting
Site Type
Settings range from the low elevation, wind-swept north coast to the high elevation forests of the Sierras.

Sun, Part Shade

Elevation ?
7' - 14460'

Annual Precip. ?
6.9" - 140.7"

Summer Precip. ?
0.25" - 4.94"

Coldest Month ?
17.9° F - 54.0° F

Hottest Month ?
38.4° F - 77.2° F

Humidity ?
0.01 vpd - 24.11 vpd

Soil Description
Tolerates a wide variety of soils

Soil PH
5.0 - 7.0

Fast, Medium, Slow

Cold Tolerance(° F)
Tolerates cold to -20° F

Companion Plants
In the wild Pinus contorta is found with Serviceberry (Amelanchier sp.), Manzanita (Arctostaphylos klamathensis or nevadensis), Ceanothus cordulatus or velutinus, Bush Chinquapin (Chrysolepis sempervirens), Ocean Spray (Holodiscus discolor), Juniperus sp., Honeysuckle (Lonicera sp.), Currant/Gooseberry (Ribes sp.), and Huckleberry (Vaccinum sp.)

Wildlife Attracted
A wide range of wildlife utilize Pinus contorta

Landscaping Information
Ease of Care
Very Easy

Water Requirement ?
Extremely Low
Very Low
Moderate - High

Seldom Used

Max. Summer Water ?
No Summer Water
Keep moist

Deep Organic

Prune in winter when wood boring insects are less active.

Propagation ?
For propagating by seed: Fresh seeds need no treatment; stored seeds 1 mo. stratification ( USDA Forest Service 1974 ).

Common uses
Bank Stabilization, Hedges, Deer Resistant, Bird Gardens

Nursery Availability
Commonly Available

Other Names
Common Names
Beach Pine, Lodgepole Tamarack Pine, Shore Pine

Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora

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