Siuslaw National Forest Drift Creek Wilderness

Locals and visitors alike marvel at the iconic image of the Douglas-fir. Did you know this tree provides for much more than good pictures?

This tree is highly revered, not only for its beauty, but usefulness. It has  played an important role in the history of Oregon, as well as the United States. Impress your next visitors by sharing new knowledge about this interesting species.

Naming

Scottish physician Archibald Menzies first documented the tree on Vancouver Island in 1791. A rival botanist, David Douglas named the tree over 30 years later. 

David Douglas, a botanist who described the tree in 1825 was the first person able to grow this tree in England. 

Not a fir

The Douglas-fir is not what it seems and the scientific name gives a clue (Pseudo = false, tsuga = fir). It is not a fir, but an evergreen conifer that is part of the pine family.

This tree is very long lived and tall. It can reach 330 feet tall and have a life expectancy of 1,000 years. It grows taller and faster in the coastal rainforests where there is good drainage.

State Tree

More than a century later in 1939 the Douglas-fir was designated Oregon’s State tree in recognition of the significant role it has played in the state’s economic development.

Economics

In addition to being beloved by Oregonians, the Douglas-fir is well-known across the country. Today, Douglas-fir is the country’s top source of lumber and accounts for nearly half of the Christmas trees grown in the United States.

Utility

Douglas-fir was also extensively used by Native Americans for building, basketry, and medicinal purposes. The wood was used for railroad ties, and telephone and telegraph poles as the nation expanded west.

Keep an eye out for this important species next time you explore the Oregon Coast!

REFERENCES:
–Temperate Rainforest Facts, Douglas-fir (Temperate-rainforest-tree-facts.com
–Wikipedia, Douglas-fir (www.widipedia.org/wiki/Douglas_fir)

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