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Wasowski, Sally and Andy
Pseudotsuga menziesii (Mirb.) Franco
Blue Douglas fir, Douglas-fir
USDA Symbol: psme
USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)
This evergreen grows from 15-150 ft. tall depending on environment. In mesic sites, the conical, columnar tree is usually 75-100 ft. tall. Limbs are straight – the lower drooping, upper ascending. Flattened needles vary in color depending on seed source. Large to very large tree with narrow, pointed crown of slightly drooping branches; 2 distinct geographic varieties: Coast and Rocky Mountain. The Rocky Mt. type is bluish-green; Pacific coast is dark-green; and yellow-green types exist. Pendulous cones are ever-present.
Coast Douglas-fir (var. menziesii), the typical Douglas-fir of the Pacific Coast, is a very large tree with long, dark yellow-green needles and large cones with spreading bracts. Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir (var. glauca), of the Rocky Mountain region, is a medium-sized to large tree with shorter, blue-green needles and smaller cones with bracts bent upward. One of the worlds most important timber species, Douglas-fir ranks first in the United States in total volume of timber, in lumber production, and in production of veneer for plywood. It is one of the tallest trees as well and a popular Christmas tree. David Douglas (1798-1834), the Scottish botanical collector, who sent seeds back to Europe in 1827, is commemorated in the common name. The foliage is consumed by grouse and by deer and elk; birds and mammals eat the seeds.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Tree Leaf Complexity: Simple Leaf:
Brown Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Time: Apr
, WY Canada: AB Native Distribution:
Mts. of Alt. to w. TX
& n. Mex., w. to B.C. & CA Native Habitat:
Moist, well-drained, mountain sites
Growing ConditionsWater Use:
Medium Light Requirement:
Part Shade Soil Moisture:
Dry CaCO3 Tolerance:
Low Soil Description:
Igneous, Limestone-based, Sandy, Sandy Loam, Moist, well-drained, neutral or slightly acid soils. Conditions Comments:
Douglas fir in the Pacific Northwest can reach 150 ft. At the other extreme, some Douglas firs in Big Bend National Park grow only 15 ft. tall. Branches grow to the ground on solitary
trees; trees in groves self-prune, revealing the thick bark. The tree
fails on dry, poor soils; in crowded spaces; or in high winds. In
the proper environment the tree
is fast-growing and seedlings are likely to establish.
PropagationPropagation Material: Seeds
Description: Propagates easily by seed and is easily transplanted when young. Douglas fir does not take well to propagation by cuttings.
Seed Collection: Not Available
Seed Treatment: Seeds may or may not need a 3-6 week cool-moist treatment depending on seed source.
Commercially Avail: yes
Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)
is a larval host and/or nectar source for:
Mr. Smarty Plants says
Columnar evergreen for Colorado
July 04, 2008
I am looking for an evergreen 6-8 (or more) feet tall, very columnar; 3 feet spread in diameter, zone 5, full sun, dark green, clayish-OK soil.
Thank you so much!
view the full question and answer
National Wetland Indicator Status
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1
(Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here
for map of regions.
From the National Organizations Directory
According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is either on display or available from the following:
United States Botanic Garden
- Washington, DCNative Seed Network
- Corvallis, OR
Record Last Modified: 2008-04-01
Research By: TWC Staff