Sierra Lodgepole Pine 2001

Sierra Lodgepole Cone 2000

Sierra Lodgepole Needles 2000

Sierra Lodgepole Range

Sierra Lodgepole Bark 2000

The Pinus Contorta Var. Murrayana is commonly known as Lodgepole Pine, Sierra Lodgepole Pine, Sierra-cascade Lodgepole Pine, as well as Tamarack Pine

Sierra Lodgepole Pine (Pinus contorta var. murrayana (Grev. & Balf.) Engelm.), of the Cascade Mountains of southwestern Washington and western Oregon, the Sierra Nevada of central California, south to northern Baja California, is a tall (70-80 ft.), narrow tree with thin, scaly bark; relatively broad, yellowish green to dark green needles that are twisted; and symmetrical, lightweight cones opening at maturity and shedding within a few years. It is a variety of Pinus contorta. It can take several years for the cones to reach maturity and open. The crown will be especially narrow if the tree is growing in crowded, forest conditions. With more space, the crown will enlarge and appear heavier and more open and spreading.

Native American tipis
Lodgepole pine is named for its common use as structural poles for the Native American tipi shelter. A typical tipi is constructed using 15 to 18 pines. The long, straight, and lightweight characteristics of the species made it ideal for horse transport in nomadic Plains buffalo hunting cultures. Tribes made long journeys across the Great Plains to secure lodgepole pines that only grew in mountainous areas. In Minnesota, other species such as red pine would be used in tipis, though they were generally thicker, heavier, and more cumbersome to transport than Pinus contorta.

Pinus contorta is still used by many today for erecting tipis on American Indian reservations, at powwows, and at private homes. The trees may be harvested for tipi poles in U.S. National Forests, provided the harvester secured a permit to cut living trees for ceremonial or traditional purposes. The Bighorn Mountains, the Black Hills, and the Medicine Bow Mountains are popular tipi pole harvesting areas for Native Americans living on Plains Indians reservations in North and South Dakota, and immigrant tipi enthusiasts.

The indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest and of California used different parts of the plant internally and externally as a traditional medicine for various ailments.


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