Native to (or naturalized in) Oregon:
- Conifer, evergreen tree, 80-200 ft (24-61 m), crown of young trees conical, dense, become broad flat top with age. Lower branches drooping, upper ones ascending. Buds oval-conical, apex pointed. Needles flattened, radially arranged, but may appear 2-ranked, 2-3 cm long, bright yellow green, grooved above, the underside has 2 wide stomatal band; needles are narrowed at the base into a slender, petiole-like stalk which sits upon a short, oblique leaf cushion. Cones pendant, woody or semi-woody, 10 cm long (compare to P. macrocarpa), with distinctive 3-pronged bracts ("the two back feet and tail of a mouse"), light brown, mature in one season.
- Sun. Prefers neutral or slightly acid, well-drained, moist soils.
- Hardy to USDA Zone 5-6 (Pacific Coast type, P. menziesii var. menziesii) or Zone 4 (Rocky Mountain type, P. menziesii var. glauca) Native range from Central British Columbia south along Pacific Coast to central California, central Mexico, also Rocky Mountains to Arizona, Texas. Most important timber species in US.
- The largest of the Pacific Coast type is in Coos County, Oregon, 36 ft (11 m) in circumference and 329 ft (100 m) high!
- The State Tree of Oregon
A number of cultivars/selections of P. menziesii can be found in specialty conifer nurseries in the Pacific Northwest, here are just three:
- 'Graceful Grace' - tree, weeping habit, lateral branches hang down; needles long, contorted, with silver color on back
- 'Vail' - dwarf tree, somewhat irregular in shape, can be conical, leaves bluish-green
- 'Idaho Gem' - miniature shrub, slow growing, about 1 inch (2.5 cm) per year, often less than a 1 foot (15 cm) in 10 years
- Occasionally trees in the wild exhibit non-conventional form, such as the semi-weeping tree called 'Eddyville'.
- A closely related species, Pseudotsuga macrocarpa, Bigcone Douglas-fir, is native to southern California, in mountainous areas from Kern County to just north of the boarder with Mexico in San Diego County. The most obvious visible difference between P. macrocarpa and P. menziesii is the much larger cone of P. macrocarpa.
- menziesii: named after Archibald Menzies (1745-1842), Scottish physician and naturalist who collected on Vancouver Island.
- To learn how this tree received its common and scientific name, see What should it be called?
- Oregon State Univ. campus: large tree in front of Fairbanks Hall, it is over 100 years old. This tree is absent in a 1892 photo of the building (then called Cauthorn Hall), but in a 1910 photo it can be seen in front of the building and taller than the 3rd story.
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