Adaptable to diverse soil and climatic conditions. Grows in dry, open woods, on gravelly ridges, outcrops and open rocky slopes, and in muskeg. Ranges from lowland bogs to subalpine ridges and alpine tundra. The only circumpolar conifer in the northern hemisphere (Pojar et al.). Widespread in western North America from Alaska to California.
Coarse textured to organic. Grows well in a soils ranging from gravelly to sandy loam and loam (Rook, 1998).
Well aerated soils with low nitrogen and phosphorus levels. Tolerant of ultramafic soils (FEIS, 1995).
Variable: mildly calcareous to moderately acidic. Not saline tolerant (FEIS, 1995).
Diverse. Prefers dry, well drained soils, but will grow on moister sites on southern exposures.
Full sunlight to light shade. Prefers open environments (Rose et al, 1998).
Early succession after fire to climax on dry open sites where competition is lacking.
Common on rocky exposed sites in association with arbutus, Garry oak, Douglas-fir and oceanspray.