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

Introduction to Vascular Plants


© David Blevins     (Photo ID #516)


E-Flora BC Static Map

Distribution of Pinus contorta
Click here to view the full interactive map and legend


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

Species Information

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)

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


If more than one illustration is available for a species (e.g., separate illustrations were provided for two subspecies) then links to the separate images will be provided below. Note that individual subspecies or varietal illustrations are not always available.

USDA Species Characteristics

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


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)
1131 0 2460
Slope Gradient (%)
18 0 205

Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]

199 0 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
3 0 8
Modal Nutrient Regime
# 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)

Habitat and 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.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Synonyms and Alternate Names:
Pinus contorta subsp. contorta Loudon [superfluous autonym]