Lodgepole Pine

Pinus contorta

APPEARANCE

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.

LIFE CYCLE

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.

ANIMAL USES

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.

MODERN USES

Today the lodgepole pine’s wood is used for making  plywood, furniture, and windows.

STATUS

COSEWIC: Not at Risk
CDC: Yellow

MORE INFORMATION

www.bcadventure.com

Photo: Nancy Turner