) is a common tree
in western North America
. Like all pines
, it is evergreen
There are three subspecies, one of them with two varieties:
- Pinus contorta subsp. contorta (Shore Pine) - Pacific Coast, southern Alaska to California
- Pinus contorta subsp. contorta var. contorta (Shore Pine) - Pacific Coast, Alaska to northwest California
- Pinus contorta subsp. contorta var. bolanderi (Mendocino Shore Pine) - Mendocino, California Coast (Near Threatened by fires, development and overland vehicles.)
- Pinus contorta subsp. murrayana (Tamarack Pine or Sierra Lodgepole Pine) - Cascade Range, Sierra Nevada and adjacent mountain ranges, Washington south to northern Baja California
- Pinus contorta subsp. latifolia (Lodgepole Pine) - Rocky Mountains, Yukon to Colorado, Saskatchewan Aspen parkland and boreal forest.
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.
Lodgepole Pine is the Provincial tree of Alberta, Canada. Lodgepole Pine will hybridise with the closely related Jack Pine.
Pinus contorta is a serious invasive plant in New Zealand.