The lodgepole pine grows to 40 metres tall with a skinny stem and triangle-shaped top. The leaves are green to yellowish and grow in twos. It has a scaly greyish-brown bark with lots of rough twigs. Its cones are prickly and covered in pitch and they need a fire’s heat to open them and release the seeds.
RANGE & HABITAT
The lodgepole pine can be found throughout most of B.C., and from Alaska to California.
Lodgepole pine needs fire; its cones open up when heat is present and the seeds are then spread on the open ground. They are a pioneer species, one of the first species to grow in an open area caused by fires.
The crossbill has a specially adapted bill to be able to crack open the lodgepole pine cone. The number of chicks the crossbill has depends on the number of lodgepole seeds that are available.
TRADITIONAL FIRST NATIONS USES
The wood was used for building and the bark of the tree was taken in strips and eaten fresh (it looked like “noodles”) or mashed to make bread. The pitch of the tree was used as medicine and poultices for sore throats and the needles were good for making tea.
Today the lodgepole pine’s wood is used for making plywood, furniture, and windows.
COSEWIC: Not at Risk
Photo: Nancy Turner