Within the Pinus contorta article...


var. latifolia S. Wats.

Common Names
Lodgepole Pine

Synonyms
P. murrayana and P. contorta var. murrayana of most authors, in part
P. contorta subsp. latifolia (S. Wats.) Critchfield

From typical P. contorta this variety can be distinguished by the thin bark of its trunk (rarely more than {1/4} in. thick) of a pale grey or brown, covered with thin scales, but comparatively smooth; also by its longer, yellowish green leaves; the leaves also tend to be rather wider, but the difference is not marked or consistent enough to be of much value in identification. The tree itself attains to a considerably greater height than typical P. contorta and, compared with var. murrayana, the trunk is slender, rarely more than 1 ft in diameter in trees a century old. It is a closed-cone pine, shedding only a small proportion of its seed each year. The bulk of the cones remain closed on the tree for a considerable period, but release their seed in vast quantities after a forest fire. In this way it quickly colonises the devastated area and dense, even-aged stands grow up.Whereas typical P. contorta inhabits the coastal region, the var. latifolia is a native of the Rocky Mountains, ranging from W. Alaska to Colorado, and ascending to 11,000 ft at the southern end of its range (to 6,000 ft in British Columbia). It was introduced shortly before 1855.

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