Shore pine and lodgepole pine are two different varieties of the species (Pinus contorta). In the Northwest, the coastal lowland form is called shore pine and the inland, mountain form of this species is called lodgepole pine. Shore pine is found between Alaska and Northern California and typically colonizes infertile sites near sea level where other trees grow poorly, if at all. When grown in tough, windy locations, shore pine can be twisted and irregularly shaped (hence the name ‘contorta’). Although shore pine can live to be 250 years old, they are typically grow to between 20 and 35 feet in height due to the harsh conditions where they live.
Native people used shore pine pitch medicinally and put it on open sores. Today, the lumber is sometimes used for cabinets, knotty pine paneling or other finish work. Its inland sibling, the lodgepole pine, grows straight and tall and was used by natives for the central pole in tepees. Nationwide, pines are second only to oaks in the food value to wildlife. They have nutritious, oily seeds that are favored by many birds and small mammals. Foliage is eaten by grouse and deer and porcupines and small rodents eat the bark and wood.
Can you identify other trees on the Oregon Coast that have developed unique adaptations due to their unique living environment?