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Home > Landscaping > Native Plants for Western Washington Gardens and Restoration Projects



Pinus contorta

Shore Pine

This species does not produce flowers
Full sun Mostly sunny
Moist soil Dry soil


At a Glance: Short pine tree, often with crooked trunk and bushy habit.

Height: Up to 100 feet (30 meters).
Growth Form: Tree.
Stems: Bark orange-brown to gray, scaly. The trunk can be straight and tall in good conditions, but it can be stunted and crooked in poor growing conditions such as peat bogs or muskeg and subalpine areas.
Leaves: Needles in pairs, often curved and twisted, 2-7 cm (0.8-2.75 in) long, deep green.
Flowers: Pollen cones small, reddish-green in clusters on tips of branches in spring.
Flowering Period: none.
Fruits: Pinecone 3-5 cm long, egg-shaped, usually slightly curved, scales stiff and brown with sharp prickle at tip; primary color: reddish-green.

Pinus contorta
Photo © 2005, Starflower Foundation
Click to view larger Click to view larger


Sun/Shade Tolerance Hydrology Elevation Range
full sun > 80%
mostly sunny 60%-80%
partial sun and shade 40%- 60%
mostly shady 60%-80%
full shade > 80%

Tolerant of salt spray.

wet
moist
dry

Wetland Indicator Status:
low elevation
mid elevation
sub-alpine
high elevation


Soil Preferences
sandy soils
gravelly soils
clay soils
muddy soils
peaty soils
well drained soils
shallow soils
deep soils
acidic soils
basic soils
humic soils
nutrient rich soils
nutrient poor soils
mineral soils
organic soils

Habitat Preferences
Aquatic and Wetland:
Ponds or lakes
Shallow pools
Sloughs
Swales or wet ditches
Seasonally inundated areas
Marshes or swamps
Aquatic bed wetlands
Emergent wetlands
Scrub-shrub wetlands
Forested wetlands
Bogs, fens
Seeps, springs
Shorelines and Riparian:
Lake shores
Bog margins
Streams or rivers
Stream or river banks
Riparian corridors
River bars
Floodplains
Bottomlands
Alluvial areas
Saltwater Areas:
In or near saltwater
Mud flats
Tidal areas
Estuaries
Saltmarshes
Brackish water
Seashores
Coastal dunes or beaches
Rocky or Gravelly Areas:
Coastal bluffs
Cliffs
Rocky slopes
Outcrops
Crevices
Glacial outwash
Gullies
Slide areas
Sub-alpine and Alpine:
Heaths
Snow beds
Tundra
Avalanche tracks
Forests and Thickets:
Forests and woods
Open forests
Coniferous forests
Old growth forests
Deciduous forests
Mixed forests
Nurse logs
Forest edges, openings, or clearings
Thickets
Meadows and Fields:
Pastures or fields
Meadows or grassy areas
Mossy areas
Disturbed Areas:
Roadsides
Trailsides
Logged sites
Burned areas
Disturbed sites

Wildlife Value
Berries
Seeds
Nectar for hummingbirds
Nectar for butterflies
Host for insect larvae
Thickets and shelter
Thorny or protective cover

Birds: The seeds are eaten by grouse, crossbills, grosbeaks, chickadees, band-tailed pigeons, quail, mourning doves, jays, nuthatches, finches, and siskins. Bushtits, kinglets, chickadees, and woodpeckers glean pine beetles and other insects from the branches and cones. Songbirds nest in most pines.
Insects: Pine white butterfly larvae eat the foliage.
Mammals: Porcupines depend on shore pine for winter forage. Squirrels and chipmunks eat the seeds.


Ethnobotanical Uses and Other Facts
Material Uses: The Nisgaa used the roots for rope. The Haida used peeled sheets of bark as splints for broken limbs. The pitch was used by the Sechelt to waterproof canoes and baskets, by the Saanich to fasten arrowheads onto shafts, and by the Lower Stlatlimx as a glue and to provide a protective coating for Indian-hemp fishing nets. Occasionally used as a Christmas tree by people living on the coast.
Medicinal Uses: The pitch and bark were used medicinally by the Coast Salish, Nuu-chah-nulth, Kwakwakawakw, Nuxalk, Haida, Tsimshian, and Tlingit. The gum was applied to cuts or as a poultice for heart pain and rheumatism, or it was made into a tea for tuberculosis.
Landscape Uses: An undemanding evergreen screen, bright green and attractive.
Name Info: Contorta obviously refers to the trees tendency to grow in a contorted manner. It is often found on rocky shores, hence the common name.


Suggested References



The landscaping and restoration information provided on this page is taken from the Starflower Foundation Image Herbarium. All photographs © Starflower Foundation unless otherwise noted.