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. The 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 USES BY INDIGENOUS PEOPLES
The wood is used for building and the bark of the tree can be taken in strips and eaten fresh (it looks like “noodles”) or mashed to make bread. The pitch of the tree is used as medicine and poultices and the needles are good for making tea.
The lodgepole pine’s wood is used for making plywood, furniture and windows.
COSEWIC: Not at Risk
Photo: Nancy Turner