There are three subspecies, one of them with two varieties:
This tree can be 30-40 m tall, but is often much smaller, particularly subsp. contorta, while subsp. murrayana can be larger, to 50 m. The leaves are needle-like, paired and often twisted, and 3-7 cm long. The 3-7 cm cones often need exposure to high temperatures (such as from forest fires) in order to open and release their seeds, though in subsp. murrayana they open as soon as they are mature. The cones have prickles on the scales.
It is occasionally known under several English names: Black Pine, Scrub Pine, and Coast Pine. The species name contorta arises from the twisted, bent pines found in the coastal area.
Tracking GIANTS: The nonprofit group American Forests documents the biggest of our country's biggest trees.
Mar 10, 2006; Byline: Stuart Kellogg Mar. 10--Recently the Daily Press received a copy of the "2006 National Register of Big Trees Calendar," a...