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A forest of yellow lodgepole pine trees in autumn.

Lodgepole pine forest - licensed under Creative Commons Wikicommons/U.S. Forest Service - Pacific Northwest Region

The lodgepole pine - or Pinus contorta var. latifolia - is an inland variety of the American shore pine. Its straight stem was used by Native Americans for the central supporting pole of their lodges or wigwams.

The tree was introduced to Britain in 1855 and its remarkable tolerance to poor soil helped it quickly win favour as a timber crop in the north of Britain.

Botanical drawings of lodgepole pine

Facts and stats

  • Height: This thin and narrow-crowned tree grows to 40-50 metres.
  • Leaves: It has twisted yellowish-green needles found in pairs that measure 5–8cm long. The tree tends to lose its lower branches as it matures to 24 metres in height.
  • Seeds: It has cones with prickly scales that require high temperature to open and release seeds.
  • Bark: The Lodgepole pine’s bark is variable but typically red-brown with fine curled flakes.
  • Native to: Pacific coast of America through to Alaska.
  • Uses: The lodgepole pine’s timber is used for roofing, flooring and other joinery. It is also used in the production of chipboard and paper pulp.
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