Pinus contorta ssp. contorta Forest & Woodland Alliance
Beach pine forest and woodland

USDA Ecological Section Map

Summary Information

  • Primary Life FormTree
  • Elevation0-150 m
  • State RarityS3
  • Global RarityG5
  • DistributionCAN: BC. USA: AK, CA, OR, WA. (FEIS) (USDA Plants)
  • Endemic to CaliforniaNo
  • Endemic to California Floristic Province and DesertsNo
  • Date Added1995/11/01

Characteristic Species

Pinus contorta ssp. contorta is dominant in the tree canopy with Abies grandis, Arbutus menziesii, Picea sitchensis, Pinus muricata, Pseudotsuga menziesii and Tsuga heterophylla.

Vegetation Layers

Trees < 25 m; canopy is intermittent to continuous. Shrubs are common or rare. Herbaceous layer is sparse or abundant; moss and lichen are usually abundant.

Membership Rules

  • Pinus contorta ssp. contorta > 50% relative cover in the tree layer (requires further development in California).


Coastal dunes, seaside bluffs, exposed rocky headlands with salt spray and winds. Soils are skeletal, sandy, and may be excessively or poorly drained; , some may be temporarily flooded. The USFWS Wetland Inventory (1996 national list) recognizes Pinus contorta ssp. contorta as a FAC plant.

Other Habitat, Alliance and Community Groupings

MCV (1995) Beach pine series
NVCS (2009) Pinus contorta forest alliance
Calveg Shore pine
Holland Beach pine forest
Munz Closed-cone pine forest
WHR Closed-cone pine-cypress
CDFW CA Code 87.060.00

National Vegetation Classification Hierarchy

Formation Class Mesomorphic Tree Vegetation (Forest and Woodland)
Formation Subclass Temperate Forest
Formation Cool Temperate Forest
Division Western North America Cool Temperate Forest
Macro Group Vancouverian Rainforest
Group Vancouverian hypermaritime lowland rainforest