Plant Data Sheet





Pinus contorta, shore pine





Pacific coast from Alaska to Mendocino Co., CA.  East to the Cascade and Klamath Ranges.

Climate, elevation

Sea level to 610 m.   Maritime.  Average yearly climate range is 7C - 27C.

Local occurrence

Along the Washington and Oregon coast and in lowlands. Can be found in sphagnum bogs in Western Washington.

Habitat preferences

Very adaptable to a wide range of conditions, found saturated to well drained soils.  Tolerant of low nutrient soil.  Found from dunes and bogs to rocky hilltops and exposed outer coast shorelines.  Tolerant of salt spray.   Intolerant of shade and competition. 

Plant strategy type/successional stage

Successional role depends upon environmental conditions and associated species.

Associated species

Sitka spruce, lodgepole pine, redwoods, salal, hairy cinquefoil, coastal strawberry, Northern riceroot, dune grass beach, pea.  Other vegetation is often sparse.

May be collected as: Seed, cuttings.

Collection restrictions or guidelines

Collect ripe cones September to October.  The cones turn from purple-green to a lustrous yellow brown when they are ripe.  Produces 2-50 seeds per cone.  Good cone crops occur at 1-3 year intervals. Serotiny increases inland but is unpredictable.



Seed germination

Fresh seeds have no dormancy and may be sown right away.  If seeds have been stored they require 20-30 days cold stratification.

Seed life

Can be stored for 17 years. Pines have highly variable germination after storage.

Recommended seed storage conditions

Dry to 5-10% moisture content and store at 2-5 C. Remove from storage one week before cold stratification.

Propagation recommendations

Plant seeds in the fall after collection or in the spring after cold stratification.  Seeds should germinate in 30-50 days.  Full sun required for germination in natural conditions.  Be sure to keep soil moist in the first weeks after germination.

Soil or medium requirements

No inoculum necessary.

Installation form

Seed or container grown plants from seed.

Recommended planting density

320 seeds / square meter.

Care requirements after installed

In the first year, seedlings have very shallow roots and are susceptible to drought.  Seedlings are poor competitors and competition from grass is especially bad. Therefore water every week and keep the site weeded and seedlings well mulched. 

Normal rate of growth or spread; lifespan

Short lived.  Can reach 20-50 feet, however is often smaller.

Sources cited

Burns, R. and Honkala. 1990.  Silvics of North America, Volume 1, Conifers. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, D.C.


Oregon State University Extension Service and Oregon Department of Forestry. 1995. Trees to Know in Oregon.


Pojar and MacKinnon. 1994. Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast.


Young, C. and Young, J. 1986. Collecting, Processing and Germinating Seeds of Wildland Plants.


Young, C. and Young, J. 1992. Seeds of Woody Plants in North America.



Data compiled by     Katie McGowan    April 22, 2003