Pinaceae (pine family) Pinus

Pinus contorta subsp. murrayana lodgepole pine

Western United States
Lodgepole pine seed cone. From: George B. Sudworth, Forest Trees of the Pacific Slope

Needles in twos, about 2 inches long, and small prickly cones that are wider than they are long distinguish the lodgepole pine. It is grown to supply Christmas trees. The bark is distinctively mottled in yellow ochre and brown, and flakes off in small, thin plates.

Pinus contorta has several subspecies ranging from high altitudes in the Sierra Nevada and other Western mountain ranges to the Pacific Coast, where it is known as shore pine or beach pine. Lodgepole pine was first reported to botanists by David Douglas (1798–1834). It is a familiar tree above Stanford Sierra Camp at Fallen Leaf Lake. Campus specimens, including one at 551 Salvatierra Walk, have disappeared in the last 20 years.

Name derivation: Pinus – The Latin name; contorta – twisted (the young shoots).

About this Entry: The main text of this entry is from the P. contorta entry in the book Trees of Stanford and Environs, by Ronald Bracewell, published 2005. John Rawlings subsequently added the subspecies name to the taxon of the entry.