1. says

    Actually that is Pinus contorta as the filename of the picture suggests. I’m from British Columbia so I see it quite often as part of my education. Pinus contorta has two variants here, one we call shore pine which is what the tree in the picture seems to be and the other is called lodgepole pine which has a much straighter form and is found in the interior of BC. I’m not sure what the common name for the species would be called in Washington state though. It is nice seeing something I’m familiar with for once.

  2. Dick the Damned says

    Look, you pedants, PZ is a biologist. If he thinks “rugged old tree” is a good enough descriptor, then that’s good enough for me.

  3. says

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  4. unclefrogy says

    when I see pictures of trees like that trees that are bent or uneven with dead wood around I can’t help but think it is a pretty day the day of the photo but not on other days the days that moved the dead wood or causes the tree to grow bent.
    I do like seeing how life works and persists and adapts.
    very wonderful

    uncle frogy

  5. Trebuchet says

    Having grown up in Montana, I’m very familiar with lodgepole pine — so called because it grows nice and straight for teepee poles. I’d never have guessed that picture was the same species. You learn something every day!

  6. butchpansy says

    The shore pine, Pinus contorta v. Contorta, grows as far South as my neighborhood, Sonoma County, California. It always seems to be within sight of the sea, developing very picturesque shapes in response to the nearly ceaseless wind. It, too is a closed-cone pine, opening its cones in the heat of a fire to release its seeds. That’s why it’s called a fire-climax plant community; forest fires reset the biological clock, periodically. I’ve moved inland, into the oak woodlands dominated by Quercus lobata, but get out to the coast occasionally. It’s the ravens I miss the most. And the stars.

  7. JohnnieCanuck says

    That image is on the Wikipedia page for Lodgepole Pine.

    The caption says it was taken in Anacortes Community Forest Lands, Washington. The description page for the Wiki image says “Shore Pine with Burrows Bay and Rosario Strait behind”.

  8. StevoR says

    I want to climb it.

    Nice image and impressively tough tree.

    Trees are tougher, stronger and more impressive than most of us appreciate I reckon – and live longer too, see more temporally (eyeless but still) but onlyu ever one spot.

    Imagine a time lapse of its life from first breakthrough the soil to final collapse and decomposition in X years time.

  9. birgerjohansson says

    We introduced pinus contorta in Sweden since it was supposed to grow faster than native pines. A decade or two later, it turns out the trees have high mortality (due to sensitivity to local conditions) thus eliminating any advantage…

  10. mothra says

    Stands straight in the forest, or contorted on shore,
    a pine for the present and a little bit more.
    Conifer picturesque and still mighty fine,
    but a mayfly compared to a bristle cone pine.

    In blustery wind or high palisade,
    on rocky sea coast or steep mountain grade,
    American wilderness symbol divine,
    a merely great tree, not a bristle cone pine.

    A bristle cone pine on high desert plateau,
    had parents that dotted a ground sloths milieu.
    Generations, one thousand of humans enshrined,
    but two for the venerable bristle cone pine.

    Rocks of the ages will break in the cold,
    fissures expand when there’s ice in the fold.
    Roots grapple stone in slow wandering time,
    are just minor works of the bristle cone pine.

    Oh Pinus contorta, of mountains and coast,
    two sons, one for each ecological ‘host’.
    Pinus aristata of high deserts biome,
    a stoic survior or brother alone?

    Species in myriads have phrases to say,
    Some more form a sentence or a page in their day.
    Then Chapters form novels for deepness of time,
    We treasure the book of the bristle cone pine.

    (tip O’ the hat to Hugh and Jim.)

  11. Sili says


    I call dips on the diaphragm. You can be the lipstick.

    Then I’ll castrate you when you land on my Womyn-born-womyn Festival square.

  12. skybluskyblue says

    PZ may be alluding to a fundie Christian song called The Old Rugged Tree The words:

    On a hill far away stands an old rugged tree,
    A lone emblem of suffering and shame.
    And I love that old tree that withstood a thousand
    If you listen it whispers: No blame.

    O I cherish that old rugged tree…bla, bla, bla

    Yuck! I would cherish all the *real* old rugged trees out in our beautiful universe.

  13. JohnnieCanuck says

    Rodney @17

    Good eye. From the Lodgepole Pine Wiki:

    “The ssp. contorta Shore Pine’s smaller selections are also used in ‘large bonsai’ specimens and container gardening.”

  14. says

    I’m trying to recall which insect it was that was eating through stands of these. Killed all of them in a private park along Hwy 1 where I was living in 2000, and the state was cutting down may along the highways to prevent the spread as the trees sickened and became breeding points.

  15. mothra says

    The current major beetle conifer pest in western North America is the Mountain pine bark beetle, Dendroctonis ponderosae.