Pinus contorta ssp. contorta

shore pine

Habit: relatively small, fast growing coniferous evergreen tree with a crown that varies from dense and round to irregular. Usually found growing in an irregular, contorted fashion shaped by the wind. The furrowed bark is dark brown to blackish often with large patches of pitch on the trunk. Slightly flattened, small needlelike, dark green leaves are arranged in 2 per fascicle. Reddish green seed cones are asymmetric and persistent, some taking many years to mature. The tips of each scale ends in a prickle. Cones mature between September and October, seed dispersal shortly follows.

Ecology: mainly a coastal species, found on coastal dunes, bogs and open bluffs at elevations from sea level to 5030 ft (1525 m), ranging from Alaska south into Northern California.


Growing Conditions: full sun to partial shade and dry to wet well-drained soil, adaptable to many soil conditions including coastal and nutrient deficient.

Shore pine seeds and bark are a food source for birds, small mammals and rodents as well as providing some nesting habitat for certain birds.

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Type: Evergreen Coniferous Tree
Height: 10-50 ft (3-15 m)
Width: 10-20 ft (3-6 m)
USDA Zones: 5-10
Map courtesy of USDA-NRCS Plants Database.