Douglas-fir Tree

Douglas-fir trees

There are two varieties of Douglas-fir trees in British Columbia: the coastal Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii var. menziesii) and the interior Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii var. glauca). It is not a true fir, and the name pseudo (false) tsuga ( hemlock) came from Dr. Archibald Menzies, and named after the Hemlock tree (Tsuga) which is the most dominate tree on the west coast. The common name came from the explorer-botanist David Douglas. The Douglas-fir dominates here in the south/western tip of B.C. because it is drier here and it likes drier conditions, where as, the Hemlock likes wetter conditions. It is a large conifer tree that can grow to heights of 280 feet (85m), and can live to over 1000 years old. It grows in forests with: Western Redcedar, Hemlock, and Grand fir. The usual understory plants are: Salal, huckleberry, Oregon-grape, and Sword ferns. The interior variety is a shorter tree only growing about 138 feet (42m). It occupies the southern portion of B.C. up to about Takla Lake. It grows in open forests with pine grass and mosses beneath. Young Douglas-fir trees have smooth gray-brown bark but it becomes thicker and deeply grooved as the tree gets older. This thick bark helps protect it from smaller to medium sized fires. As the tree gets older it losses it lower branches and has a pyramid shaped top. Its needles (leaves) are flat and pointed at the end, that are green to yellowish-green on top with a groove down the centre. The underside is paler and has two white rows of stomata (the tiny holes that let air into the leaf so the plant can take in CO2 (carbon dioxide) and release O2 (oxygen).The needles grow around the twig (kind of like a bottle brush). Its cones are 2 to 4 inches (5-10cm) long and easy to identify because they look like there are tiny mice trying to get inside with the hind legs and tails sticking out.

Connections – Treefrogs and Big Old Douglas-fir Trees

The Douglas-fir is a relatively fast growing tree and has dense wood with good strength, and is one of the key trees for forestry here in B.C.
According to Natural Resources Canada:
Douglas-fir faces a number of biological and climate-related stresses, including Armillaria and Phellinus root diseases, Douglas-fir beetle and drought. These stresses can either kill the trees or affect the way they grow over the long term, and in turn affect the upstream value chain, where buyers and processors rely on consistent quality in the wood.

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