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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Lodgepole Pine - Pinus contorta

Native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S5
(see State Rank Reason below)

Agency Status
MNPS Threat Rank:
C-value: 3

External Links

State Rank Reason (see State Rank above)
See rank details.
  • Details on Status Ranking and Review
    Lodgepole Pine (Pinus contorta) Conservation Status Review
    Review Date = 05/25/2012
    View State Conservation Rank Criteria
    Population Size

    Score0 - Large: Generally >100,000 individuals.

    Range Extent

    Score0 - Widespread species within Montana (occurs in 5% or more of the state or generally occurring in 6 or more sub-basins.) as well as outside of Montana.

    Area of Occupancy

    Score0 - High: Occurs in >25 Subwatersheds (6th Code HUC’s).

    Environmental Specificity

    Score0 - Low: Species is a generalist that occurs in a variety of habitats and/or is tolerant of disturbed or degraded habitats (C -Values of 1-4).


    Score0-1 - Stable to Minor Declines:


    Score0-1 - Low to Medium.

    Intrinsic Vulnerability

    Score0 - Low Vulnerability: Species does not have any unusual or specific life history or biological attributes or limted reproductive potential which makes it susceptible to extirpation from stochastic events or other adverse impacts to its habitat and thus slow to recover.

    Raw Conservation Status Score

    Score 0 to 2 total points scored out of a possible 19.

General Description
Small, slender tree to 35 m with whorled horizontal branches forming a conical crown. Bark thin, scaly, brown or gray. Leaves yellow-green, 4–8 cm long, 2 per fascicle. Seed cones ovoid but asymmetrical, 2–6 cm long. Scales tongue-shaped with a spine tip. Seeds with a conspicuous wing. Our plants are variety latifolia (Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Species Range

Range Comments
In MT across western two-thirds of the state, east to Phillips and Big Horn counties; AK to CA, UT, CO, and SD (Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 7165

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density



(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)

In mixed or nearly pure forest stands; valleys to treeline (Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

  • Additional ReferencesLegend:   View Online Publication
    Do you know of a citation we're missing?
    • Anderson, M.D. 2003. Pinus contorta var. latifolia. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online}. U. S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer).
    • Conway, T.M. 1982. Response of understory vegetation to varied lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta) spacing intervals in Western Montana. M.S. thesis. Montana State University, Bozeman. 76 pp.
    • Dale, R. G. 1930. Elk and lodgepole pine. Yellowstone Nat. Notes 7(4):21.
    • Lesica, P., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 771 p.
    • Little, E.L., Jr. 1979. Checklist of United States trees (native and naturalized). Agriculture Handbook No. 541. U.S. Forest Service, Washington, D.C. 375 pp.
    • Neuenschwander, L. F., and C. D. Armour. 1980. Succession of fuels and vegetation in mountain pine beetle-killed lodgepole pine forests. Prog. Rep., Pp. 13-14 ill K. L. McArthur, ed., Annual Research Summary, Glacier National Park, USDI National Park Service, Glacier National Park, MT. 54 pp.
    • Pfister, R. D., and R. Daubenmire. 1975. Ecology of lodgepole pine. Pages 27-46 in: D. M. Baumgartner, editor. Management of Lodgepole Pine Ecosystems Symposium proceedings. Washington State University, Pullman.
    • Tackle, D. 1964. Generating lodgepole pine in central Montana following clear cutting. USDA Intermountain For. and Range Exp. Sta., Ogden, Utah. 7 pp.
    • Woods of the World Compact (IBM Windows), [CD-ROM]. (1994). Available: Tree Talk.
  • Web Search Engines for Articles on "Lodgepole Pine"
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Citation for data on this website:
Lodgepole Pine — Pinus contorta.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from