Pinus contorta ‘Chief Joseph’

golden lodgepole pine

  • © Richie Steffen / Great Plant Picks

Outstanding Qualities

Electric gold barely seems sufficient to describe the needles of this beguiling Pacific Northwest native lodgepole pine cultivar discovered in northeastern Oregon. The new growth in spring and summer is the typical green, then the dazzling color of ‘Chief Joseph’ is revealed in late autumn to early winter as frosts arrive. This is definitely a blast of color for the winter garden!

Quick Facts

Plant Type: conifer

Foliage Type: evergreen

Plant Height: 6 ft. 0 in. (1.83 meters)

Plant Width/Spread: 4 ft. 0 in. (1.22 meters)

Plant Height-Mature: 20 ft. 0 in. (6.10 meters)

Plant Width-Mature: 6 ft. 0 in. (1.83 meters)

Hardiness: USDA Zones 5 to 8

Flower Color: none

Sun/Light Exposure: full sun

Water Requirements: occasional watering

Seasonal Interest: intense golden yellow foliage in winter

Wildlife Associations: birds

Culture Notes
For the best color effect plant in full sun. The soil should be well-drained and water regularly during the dry season for the first two years until it is established, after that water occasionally.
Geek Notes
This selection of pinus contorta was found by Doug Will of Sandy, Oregon in the Wallowa Mountains of northeastern Oregon during a hunting trip. The cultivar name, 'Chief Joseph', is for Hin-mah-too-yah-lat-kekt, known as Chief Joseph (1840-1904), a leader of the Wal-lam-wat-kain (Wallowa) band of Nez Perce, a Native American tribe indigenous to the Wallowa Valley in northeastern Oregon.