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Botanical Name: Pseudotsuga menziesii

Common Name: Douglas Fir
Origin: W. North America
Location: CSW

Notable Feature: Unique forked cone bracts distinguish this tree from all other conifers. The species is indigenous to coastal areas and up to 5500' in elevation from British Columbia south to central California.

Habit: An evergreen conifer that forms a narrow, pyramidal shape with branching to the ground when young and becoming more cylindrical with age as it loses its lower branches; older trees typically have branching only on the top one-third of the tree. Trunks are characteristically straight; matures to 40 to 80 feet tall and 12 to 20 feet wide.

Flower: Species is monoecious (male and female flowers are borne separately on the same tree). Male flowers are oblong, red to yellow, and arise near the branch tips; female flowers are green, with long bracts, also occurring near the branch tips.

Fruit: Cones (up to 4 ½” long) are pendulous with rounded scales and protruding, trident-shaped bracts. The bracts extend beyond the cone scales and resemble mouse posteriors!  Mature in late summer, ripening from green to grayish brown.

Foliage: Flat, linear, spirally-arranged, dark bluish green needles (to 1 ½” long) with white banding beneath. Fallen or plucked needles leave raised, circular leaf scars on the twigs. Needles are fragrant when bruised.

Bark: Thin, smooth and gray with numerous resin blisters; thick and corky on older trees with ridges and deep furrows.

Interesting Fact: Douglas fir ranks as the second tallest tree species in the world behind the coastal redwood (Sequoia sempervirens). Fire has been a major component of Douglas fir forests for thousands of years, and has helped to create almost pure stands throughout the Pacific Northwest. Logging, on the other hand, has eliminated much of the original old growth forests in this region, and massive clear-cutting has severely fragmented the environment, especially for wildlife. 

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