Shore pine (Pinus contorta v. contorta)
West of Edens Hall
Tree neophytes blink hard and consult their reference books when they are told that this tree and the lodgepole pine of the Rocky Mountains (P.contorta v. latifolia) belong in the same species. Certainly there are many superficial differences. The shore pine tends to be irregular, writhing and short, as if clinging to the ground for protection against winds off the ocean. When undisturbed by wind, they are upright, but short and fat. Lodgepole pines, on the other hand, are tall and straight, and show an almost prissy tendency to elevate their foliage above the substrate. If a shore pine is a little boy playing in the mud, the lodgepole pine is his sister, dressed for dance class.
A much more picturesque and cleverly described specimen of shore pine located near the music building recently (2010) succumbed to nature and age, so we now will go with these somewhat less interesting examples growing just west of Edens Hall. Although not as clearly, these trees also hint at the writhing, ground hugging posture of P.contorta v. contorta when faced with a challenging environment. Less contorted examples are to be found elsewhere on campus; indeed, P.contorta v. contorta is one of the more common trees in Bellingham.
Western also has examples of what may be Pinue contorta v. latifolia; several candidates are located near the NE corner of Carver Gym. As its name implies, lodgepole pine was used by some Native Americans to construct their dwellings. It also is an important lumber tree.
Lodgepole pines may grow to be 100 ft. tall; shore pines about half that.