E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Pinus contorta Douglas ex Loudon
lodgepole pine (shore pine)
Pinaceae (Pine family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© David Blevins  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #516)

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Distribution of Pinus contorta
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This is an evergreen coniferous species of tree that is common throughout BC.

Species Information

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Tree, mostly to 30 m tall, but up to 40 m; var. latifolia mostly straight and columnar with narrow rounded crown, var. contorta often somewhat contorted and even bonsai-like; bark reddish-brown to blackish, cracked at the base and somewhat flaky above, furrowed and thicker in var. contorta.
Needles in groups of two, usually curved and slightly twisted, 2-7 cm long; deep green in var. contorta, yellowish-green in var. latifolia.
Seed cones egg-shaped, lopsided, 3-6 cm long; stiff bracts with armed tips; serotinous; cones point backwards on twig in var. contorta, outward in var. latifolia; pollen cones reddish-green in clusters at tips of branches.
See above re hybridization with P. banksiana. Two varieties are generally recognized in BC.

1. Trees usually with rounded crown, rarely over 15 m tall; bark dark brown to greyish-black, 2-2.5 cm thick on older trees; needles deep green; coastal............... var. contorta (shore pine)

1. Trees usually columnar when close together, 20-40 m tall; bark reddish-brown, very thin, rarely over 1 cm thick; needles yellowish-green; inland..................... var. latifolia Engelm. ex S. Wats. (lodgepole pine)

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

USDA Species Characteristics

Flower Colour:
Blooming Period:
Mid Summer
Fruit/Seed characteristics:
Colour: Brown
Present from Summer to Fall
Source:  The USDA

Habitat / Range

Wet to dry bogs, lower slopes and high river terraces in the lowland, montane and subalpine zones; common throughout BC; N to S AK, YT and SW NT, E to W AB, and S to CA, UT, CO and SD.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Pinus contorta

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 0 1131 2460
Slope Gradient (%) 0 18 205
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 199 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 3 8
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: AT(10), BAFA(23), BWBS(855), CDF(13), CMA(3), CWH(744), ESSF(2520), ICH(1673), IDF(1194), IMA(2), MH(36), MS(2115), PP(24), SBPS(558), SBS(2717), SWB(156)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Pinus contorta subsp. contorta Loudon [superfluous autonym]

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References