Douglas Fir


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British Columbia Outdoor Wilderness Guide

Douglas1.Jpg
DOUGLAS FIR
pseudotsuga menziesii

  • The Douglas Fir is also known as Coast Douglas-fir, Oregon Pine, Oregon Douglas-fir, Douglas Tree, Interior Douglas-fir
  • This is not a fir at all but 'Pseudotsuga' or "False Hemlock"
  • The Douglas Fir is named after the Scottish botanist, David Douglas, who introduced many of BC's native conifers to Europe

UNIQUE FEATURES:

  • The Douglas Fir has distinctive three-forked bracts between the scales on the cones

LOCATION:

  • The Douglas Fir grows on the southern mainland coast of British Columbia and Vancouver Island
  • An interior variety of the Douglas Fir is found throughout southern and central BC

SIZE:

  • The Douglas Fir can reach up to 85 metres in height on the coast and 42 metres in the interior

CONES:

  • 5 to 11 cm long
  • green when young, turning to brown as they age
  • papery scales, with three pronged bracts (resembling mouse hind legs and tail) in between them
  • have winged seeds
  • seeds are eaten by birds and small animals

Douglas3.Gif
NEEDLES:

  • flat with pointed tips
  • bright yellowish-green with single groove on upper surface
  • paler colour on lower surface
  • spirally arranged so appear to stand out around the twig

Douglas2.Jpg

BARK:

  • smooth, grey-brown, blistered when young
  • furrowed, thick, dark reddish-brown ridges as the tree ages
  • bears scrape off the bark to eat the sap layer beneath

WOOD CHARACTERISTICS:

  • dense, hard, stiff, durable, strong

USES:

  • modern - heavy duty construction such as wharves, trestles, bridge parts and commercial buildings
  • traditional - wood: fuel, fishing hooks, handles, snowshoes, fishtraps; boughs: floor coverings; seeds: eaten; twigs/needles: can exude a sugar like substance which was prized

QUICK/EASY ID (identification) for DOUGLAS FIR

  • cones: forked
  • needles: flat, fragrant, friendly (the boughs are soft to the touch when you run your hand up and down)
  • bark: furrowed

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Douglas Fir