Pinus contorta var. latifolia
Rocky Mountain Lodgepole Pine
PI-nus kon-TOR-ta lat-i-FO-le-a
Native to (or naturalized in) Oregon:
- Conifer, evergreen tree, 110 ft (30 m), columnar, especially when in tight stands, and since branches are non-pruning, such stands are difficult to transverse. Bark reddish-brown. Two needles per bundle (fascicle), green to yellow green, 4-6 cm long, commonly twisted, persists 4-8 years, sheath persistent. Cones 2-5 cm long, egg-shaped, oblique, armed with deciduous prickles, stalkless, or nearly so, frequently point "backwards" toward the base of the branch.
- Hardy to USDA Zone 3 (Much more hardy than coastal form) Rocky Mountain lodgepole pine is distributed from interior Alaska and the Northwest Territories east to Saskatchewan and the Black Hills of South Dakota, and south to Colorado, central Utah, and eastern Oregon. Another form, P. c. var. contorta (Shore Pine), has a rounded shape and does not grow as tall, to about 50 ft (15 m), it is found along the Pacific coast, from Alaska to northern California. In addition to P. c. var. latifolia, there two other Lodgepole Pine varieties recognized; P. c. var. murrayana (Sierra Lodgepole Pine) and P. c. var. bolanderi (Mendocino White Plains lodgepole pine). Taken together, Pinus contorta is one of the most widely distributed pines in the western hemisphere, extending from Alaska south to Mexico and east through the Rocky Mountains to South Dakota.
- The Provincial Tree of Alberta
- Shore and Lodgepole pine are the only pines native to the Pacific Northwest that have short needles in bundles of two. Can you identify these common native pines, a 3-needle and a 5-needle?
- A semi-dwarf cultivar, 'Chief Joseph', has foliage that is yellow-gold in winter and medium green in summer.
- latifolia: wide, broad
- Lodgepole: native peoples prized the lodgepole for making supports for teepees, lodges and other buildings, and poles for a travois (the trailing pole frame pulled by a horse or dog).