Tree Species of the World's Boreal Forests

Herbs, Shrubs and Other Plants

Terminology | Pictorial

Pinus contorta
Lodgepole Pine
Pinaceae (Pine Family)

A widely distributed pine that usually grows tall with narrow, dense, conical crown; may remain small with broad, rounded crown, growing to an average height of 6 - 24 m and a diameter of 0.3 - 0.9 m.

Lodgepole Pine Description

Distinguishing Features - Needles: evergreen; in twos; 3 - 7 cm long; stout, slightly flattened and often twisted; yellow-green to dark green. Bark: light brown, thin, and scaly. Cones: 2 - 5 cm long; egg-shaped, stalkless, oblique or one-sided at base, shiny yellow-brown; remaining closed on tree many years; cone-scales raised, rounded, keeled, with tiny, slender prickle.


Southeastern Alaska and central Yukon south on Pacific Coast to northern California, south through Sierra Nevada to southern California, and south in Rocky Mountains to Colorado; also local in Black Hills of South Dakota; prefers high mountains on mostly well-drained soils, often in pure stands.


The Lodgepole Pine name refers to the use by American Indians of the slender trunks as poles for their conical tents or teepees.

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