Lodgepole Pine

Pinus contorta 

Lodgepole Pine
Photo by NHA Staff
Family:
Pine (Pinaceae)
Size:
50’-100’ tall (usually 70'- 80'); 15"-18" diameter; max. 150' by 3'
Age:
Maturity reached by about 200 years. Recent studies indicate Lodgepole pine may live to 1,000 years.
Bark:
Orange-brown to gray, covered with small, thin scales (“cornflakes”)
Needles:
In bundles of 2 short needles, 1” – 3” long; yellow-green in color; persistent 4-6 seasons
Cones:
Numerous, 3/4"-2", prickly, nearly globular, asymmetrical at the base; purple to light yellow brown in color
Elevation:
Generally about 7000’ but found from 2000’ north to 11500’ south
Comments:
Lodgepoles grow straight in dense stands. The Indians of the Rocky Mountains used lodgepoles for erecting lodges or dwellings because the boles were long and straight. In the San Jacinto Mountains, they often grow contorted or stunted by wind and snow. The trees were also used for mine props, corral poles, cabin logs and railway ties. The lodgepole has adapted to grow in many areas—sunny hills, meadows, burned sites, often where other trees won’t grow. Generally likes moist, well-drained sandy or gravelly soil. It tends to establish after fires because the heat of the fire causes the cones to release their seeds. Successionally, however, this pine is often replaced by shade-loving trees, such as White fir.