Canada’s Arboreal Emblems:
Alberta — Lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta var. latifolia)
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This conifer grows to 30 m in height and 60 cm in diameter with a long clean slender bole. Its needles are twisted and stiff in bundles of two, 3-7 cm long, dark green to yellow green, in dense clusters towards the end of the branches. Cones, 3-6 cm long, curved backwards towards the base of the branches, remaining closed for many years, with a sharp spine at the tip of each scale. Thin bark, yellowish brown, somewhat scaly. Though not a well-known tree for landscaping, it makes up the urban forest of many Albertan and interior B.C. communities.
The wood of the Lodgepole pine is white to yellowish brown, moderately light, soft and straight grained with uniform texture. Flat-sawn wood often shows a dimpled pattern. Makes excellent heavy general construction and heavy construction timber, after pressure treating, for railway ties, poles and mine timbers. It is also used for boxes, crates and pulpwood.
Widely distributed throughout western North America, Lodgepole pine is the most common and abundant tree in the Rocky Mountains and foothills regions of Alberta. It forms dense, even stands after fire, and integrates with jack pine where the species overlap. The common name is derived from its use by Aboriginal people in constructing their lodges.
Lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta var. latifolia)