Douglas Fir in Lassen Volcanic National Park
Douglas-fir is a common named applied to coniferous trees of the Genus Pseudotsuga in the Family Pinaceae, with two species native to the Pacific Coast of North America and four native to eastern Asia. The Douglas-firs have given botanists fits due to their similarity to various other conifers: having, at times, been called pines, spruces, hemlocks, and true firs. Because of the distinctive cones, Douglas-firs were, in 1867, placed in the genus Pseudotsuga, meaning "false hemlock". The hyphen in the common name indicates that Douglas-fir is not a "true" fir — it is not a member of the genus Abies. The popular name honors David Douglas, the Scottish botanist who identified the tree in the Pacific Northwest in 1826. Douglas is known for introducing many Canadian native conifers to Europe.
The leaves are flat, generally resembling those of the fir. The female cones are distinct in having bracts that protrude prominently beneath each scale.
The best-known species in the genus is Pseudotsuga menziesii, also known as 'Coast Douglas-fir', 'Oregon Pine', 'Oregon Douglas-fir', 'Douglas Tree', or 'Interior Douglas-fir'. These trees can attain heights second only to the redwoods. This species is the state tree of Oregon. The specific name, menziesii, is after Archibald Menzies, a Scottish physician and naturalist who first discovered the tree on Vancouver Island in 1791.
Species and varieties
Cone from a Douglas-fir