Pseudotsuga menziesii, commonly known as Douglas fir, Douglas-fir and
Oregon pine, is an evergreen conifer species native to western North
America. One variety, the coast Douglas fir, grows along the Pacific
Ocean from central
British Columbia south to central California. A
second variety, the Rocky Mountain Douglas fir, grows in the Rocky
British Columbia south to Mexico. The tree is dominant
in western Washington and Oregon. It is extensively used for timber,
6 See also
8 Further reading
9 External links
The common name honors David Douglas, a Scottish botanist and
collector who first reported the extraordinary nature and potential of
the species. The common name is misleading since it is not a true fir,
i.e., not a member of the genus Abies. For this reason the name is
often written as Douglas-fir (a name also used for the genus
Pseudotsuga as a whole).
The specific epithet, menziesii, is after Archibald Menzies, a
Scottish physician and rival naturalist to David Douglas. Menzies
first documented the tree on
Vancouver Island in 1791. Colloquially,
the species is also known simply as Doug-fir or as Douglas pine
(although the latter common name may also refer to Pinus douglasiana).
Coast Salish name for the tree, used in the
Douglas firs are medium-size to extremely large evergreen trees,
20–100 metres (70–330 ft) tall (although only coast Douglas
firs reach such great heights). The leaves are flat, soft, linear,
2–4 centimetres (3⁄4–1 1⁄2 in) long, generally
resembling those of the firs, occurring singly rather than in
fascicles; they completely encircle the branches, which can be useful
in recognizing the species. As the trees grow taller in denser forest,
they lose their lower branches, such that the foliage may start high
off the ground. Douglas firs in environments with more light may have
branches much closer to the ground.
The female cones are pendulous, with persistent scales unlike true
firs. They are distinctive in having a long tridentine (three-pointed)
bract that protrudes prominently above each scale (it resembles the
back half of a mouse, with two feet and a tail).
One variety, coast
Douglas fir (
Pseudotsuga menziesii var. menziesii),
grows in the coastal regions, from west-central British Columbia
southward to central California. In
Oregon and Washington, its range
is continuous from the eastern edge of the Cascades west to the
Pacific Coast Ranges
Pacific Coast Ranges and Pacific Ocean. In California, it is found in
the Klamath and
California Coast Ranges as far south as the Santa
Lucia Range, with a small stand as far south as the
Purisima Hills in
Santa Barbara County. In the Sierra Nevada, it ranges as far
south as the Yosemite region. It occurs from near sea level along the
coast to 1,800 m (5,900 ft) above sea level in the mountains
Further inland, coast
Douglas fir is replaced by another variety,
Rocky Mountain or interior
Douglas fir (P. menziesii var.
Douglas fir intergrades with coast
Douglas fir in
the Cascades of northern Washington and southern British Columbia, and
from there ranges northward to central
British Columbia and
southeastward to the Mexican border, becoming increasingly disjunct as
latitude decreases and altitude increases. Mexican Douglas fir
(P. lindleyana), which ranges as far south as Oaxaca, is often
considered a variety of P. menziesii.
Douglas-fir prefers acidic or neutral soils. However, Douglas fir
exhibits considerable morphological plasticity, and on drier sites
Douglas fir will generate deeper taproots. Interior Douglas fir
exhibits even greater plasticity, occurring in stands of interior
temperate rainforest in British Columbia, as well as at the edge of
semi-arid sagebrush steppe throughout much of its range, where it
generates even deeper taproots than coast
Douglas fir is capable.
A snag provides nest cavities for birds
Mature or "old-growth"
Douglas fir forest is the primary habitat of
the red tree vole (Arborimus longicaudus) and the spotted owl (Strix
occidentalis). Home range requirements for breeding pairs of spotted
owls are at least 400 ha (4 square kilometres, 990 acres) of
old-growth. Red tree voles may also be found in immature forests if
Douglas fir is a significant component. This animal nests almost
exclusively in the foliage of
Douglas fir trees. Nests are located
2–50 metres (5–165 ft) above the ground. The red vole's diet
consists chiefly of
Douglas fir needles. A parasitic plant sometimes
utilizing P. menziesii is
Douglas-fir dwarf mistletoe
Douglas-fir dwarf mistletoe (Arceuthobium
The leaves are also used by the woolly conifer aphid Adelges cooleyi;
this 0.5 mm long sap-sucking insect is conspicuous on the
undersides of the leaves by the small white "fluff spots" of
protective wax that it produces. It is often present in large numbers,
and can cause the foliage to turn yellowish from the damage it causes.
Exceptionally, trees may be partially defoliated by it, but the damage
is rarely this severe. Among Lepidoptera, apart from some that feed on
Pseudotsuga in general (see there) the gelechiid moths Chionodes
abella and C. periculella as well as the cone scale-eating tortrix
Cydia illutana have been recorded specifically on P. menziesii.
Mature individual in the Wenatchee Mountains
Douglas fir variety is the dominant tree west of the Cascade
Mountains in the Pacific Northwest, occurring in nearly all forest
types, competes well on most parent materials, aspects, and slopes.
Adapted to a moist, mild climate, it grows larger and faster than
Rocky Mountain Douglas fir. Associated trees include western hemlock,
Sitka spruce, sugar pine, western white pine, ponderosa pine, grand
fir, coast redwood, western redcedar,
Lawson's cypress, tanoak, bigleaf maple and several others. Pure
stands are also common, particularly north of the
Umpqua River in
Poriol is a flavanone, a type of flavonoid, produced by P. menziesii
in reaction to infection by Poria weirii.
This plant has ornamental value in large parks and gardens.
Away from its native area, it is also extensively used in forestry as
a plantation tree for timber in Europe, New Zealand, Chile and
elsewhere. It is also naturalised throughout Europe, Argentina and
Chile (called Pino Oregón), and in New Zealand sometimes to the
extent of becoming an invasive species (termed a wilding conifer)
subject to control measures.
The buds have been used to flavor eau de vie, a clear, colorless fruit
Native Hawaiians built waʻa kaulua (double-hulled canoes) from coast
Douglas fir logs that had drifted ashore.
Douglas fir has been commonly used as a
Christmas tree since the
Douglas fir Christmas trees are typically grown on
List of Douglas-fir diseases
^ Farjon, A. (2013). "
IUCN Red List
IUCN Red List of
Threatened Species. IUCN. 2013: e.T42429A2979531.
doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2013-1.RLTS.T42429A2979531.en. Retrieved 13
^ "Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga)". Common Trees of the Pacific Northwest.
Oregon State University. Retrieved March 28, 2013.
^ Dictionary of Upriver Halkomelem, Volume I, pp. 213. Galloway, Brent
^ Carder, Al (1995). Forest Giants of the World Past and Present.
^ James R. Griffin (September 1964). "A New Douglas-
Fir Locality in
Southern California". Forest Science: 317–319. Retrieved December
^ James R. Griffin; William B. Critchfield (1976). The Distribution of
Forest Trees in
California USDA Forest Service Research Paper PSW –
82/1972 (PDF). Berkeley, California: USDA Forest Service. p. 114.
^ Barton, G.M. (1972). "New C-methylflavanones from Douglas fir".
Phytochemistry. 11 (1): 426–429.
Pseudotsuga menziesii". Royal Horticultural Society.
^ "Distribution of Douglas fir". Royal Botanical Garden
^ Asimov, Eric (August 15, 2007). "An Orchard in a Bottle, at 80
Proof". The New York Times. Retrieved February 1, 2009.
Pseudotsuga menziesii var. menziesii". The Gymnosperm Database.
Retrieved March 17, 2013. This was the preferred species for Hawaiian
war canoes. The Hawaiians, of course, did not log the trees; they had
to rely on driftwood.
^ "Douglas Fir". National Christmas
Emily K. Brock, Money Trees: The Douglas
Fir and American Forestry,
1900–1944. Corvallis, OR:
Oregon State University Press, 2015.
Uchytil, Ronald J. (1991). "
var. menziesii". Fire Effects Information System (FEIS). U.S.
Department of Agriculture (USDA), Forest Service (USFS), Rocky
Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory – via
Wikimedia Commons has media related to:
Pseudotsuga menziesii (category)
Pseudotsuga menziesii (Douglas fir)
Arboretum de Villardebelle – cone photos
Humboldt State University — Photo Tour: Douglas-fir, Pseudotsuga
menziesii — Institute for Redwood Ecology
Pseudotsuga menziesii - information, genetic conservation units and
related resources. European Forest Genetic Resources Programme
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