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Pinus contorta

Pinus contorta

Pinus contorta
Pinus contorta variety latifolia (Lodgepole Pine)
Pinaceae (Pine Family)

Montane, subalpine. Woodlands. Summer.
Above and left: Taylor Mesa, June 26, 2015.

Dense stands of Lodgepole Pines colonize fire-scarred areas as a subclimax forest.  Notice in the photographs above and at left that there is little shrub undergrowth.  The tallest trees pictured are about seventy years old and the young trees are about fifteen.

in the mid-1820s David Douglas was the first to identify this tree for science from specimens he found "in swampy ground near the sea coast, and abundantly near Cape Disappointment, Washington and Cape Lookout, Oregon".  (Intermountain Flora quotation.) Douglas named the species and George Engelmann named the variety that is found in Colorado: Pinus contorta variety latifolia

"Con torta" is Latin for "with a twist", perhaps given by Douglas because the variety that grows near the sea coast (P. contorta var. contorta) has trunk and/or leaf twists.

Pinus contorta

Pinus contorta

Pinus contorta variety latifolia (Lodgepole Pine)
Pinaceae (Pine Family)

Montane, subalpine. Woodlands. Summer.
Taylor Mesa, June 26, 2015 and
Andrews Lake, July 2, 2007.

The scaly bark of Lodgepole Pine varies from gray to orange brown and can fracture exposing an orange layer beneath the light gray.

Pinus contorta

Pinus contorta

Pinus contorta

Pinus contorta variety latifolia (Lodgepole Pine)
Pinaceae (Pine Family)

Montane, subalpine. Woodlands. Summer.
Taylor Mesa, June 26, 2015 and July 7, 2010 and Andrews Lake, July 2, 2007.

Bristle-tipped cones (yellow/orange in youth, light gray in future years) remain on the tree for a number of years. (Also see the second photograph at the top of this page.) Some cones open only in fires to disperse their seeds. 

The small, flaky-looking buff-colored cylindrical structures to the right of the cone in the first two photographs at left are the male, pollen-bearing flowers.  The day I took the second photograph at Andrews Lake, winds were releasing clouds of pollen from the male flower.

Range map © John Kartesz,
Floristic Synthesis of North America

State Color Key

Species present in state and native
Species present in state and exotic
Species not present in state

County Color Key

Species present and not rare
Species present and rare
Species extirpated (historic)
Species extinct
Species noxious
Species exotic and present
Native species, but adventive in state
Eradicated
Questionable presence

Range map for Pinus contorta