At a Glance: Large coniferous tree with thick, fluted bark.
|Sun/Shade Tolerance||Hydrology||Elevation Range||
full sun > 80%
mostly sunny 60%-80%
partial sun and shade 40%- 60%
mostly shady 60%-80%
full shade > 80%
well drained soils
nutrient rich soils
nutrient poor soils
Aquatic and Wetland:
Ponds or lakes
Swales or wet ditches
Seasonally inundated areas
Marshes or swamps
Aquatic bed wetlands
Seeps, springsShorelines and Riparian:
Streams or rivers
Stream or river banks
In or near saltwater
Coastal dunes or beachesRocky or Gravelly Areas:
Slide areasSub-alpine and Alpine:
Forests and Thickets:
Forests and woods
Old growth forests
Forest edges, openings, or clearings
ThicketsMeadows and Fields:
Pastures or fields
Meadows or grassy areas
Mossy areasDisturbed Areas:
Nectar for hummingbirds
Nectar for butterflies
Host for insect larvae
Thickets and shelter
Thorny or protective cover
Birds: Birds that eat the seeds include grouse, crosbills, siskins, and many others. Chickadees, nuthatches, brown creepers, and woodpeckers find insects in the trunk, branches, and twigs. Cavity-nesting birds and other wildlife, including flying squirrels, nest and roost in cavities in mature trees.
Insects: Foliage is eaten by pine white butterfly larvae, silver-spotted tiger moth larvae, and numerous other moths.
Mammals: Squirrels and chipmunks eat the seeds. The foliage and twigs are browsed by beavers, porcupines, deer, and elk.
|Ethnobotanical Uses and Other Facts||
Material Uses: The wood and bark was used as fuel by most coastal groups. The wood was used to make spear handles, harpoon shafts, spoons, dip-net poles, harpoon barbs, fire tongs, salmon weirs, caskets and halibut and cod hooks. The pitch was used to sealjoints on implements such as harpoon heads, gaffs and fishhooks, and for caulking canoes and water vessels. The Nuxalk, Quinault and others used the pitchy heartwood for torches. Wood is used in many types of construction. Commonly used as a Christmas tree.
Medicinal Uses: Pitch was used to make a medicinal salve for wounds and irritations. The bark of the young root is boiled by the Swinomish and babies are washed in it. The bud tips are picked by them and chewed for sore throats and mouth sores.
Food Uses: The Comox prepared dogfish by stuffing it with rotten, powdered Douglas fir and placing it in a pit lined with the same material.
Name Info: Menziesii refers to Dr. Archibald Menzies who first described the species. The common name is from botanist David Douglas. Pseudotsuga means false hemlock. The tree is actually not a fir.
Interesting Facts: The tree can live for over a thousand years. It only appeared in our region 7,000 years ago.
- Alden, P., D. Paulson. 1998. National Audubon Society, Field Guide to the Pacific Northwest. Chanticleer Press. Page 101.
- Brockman, F.C. 1968. A Guide to Field Identification: Trees of North America. Western Publishing Company. Page .
- Gunther, E. 1973. 2nd ed. Ethnobotany of Western Washington. University of Washington Press. Page 19.
- Hickman, J.C., ed. 1993. The Jepson Manual: Higher Plants of California. University of California Press. Page 120.
- Hitchcock, C.L., A. Cronquist. 1973. Vascular Plants of the Pacific Northwest. University of Washington Press. Page 63.
- Jacobson A.L. 2001. Wild Plants of Greater Seattle. Published by author. Page 60.
- Link, R. 1999. Landscaping for Wildlife in the Pacific Northwest. University of Washington Press. Page 243.
- Lyons, C., W. Merilees. Trees and Shrubs to Know in Washington and British Columbia. Lone Pine Publishing. Page 70.
- Pojar, J., A. Mackinnon. 1994. Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast. Lone Pine Publishing. Page 32.
- Turner, N.AJ. 1975. Food Plants of British Columbia Indians: part 1, Coastal Peoples. British Columbia Provincial Museum. Page 95.
The landscaping and restoration information provided on this page is taken from the Starflower Foundation Image Herbarium. All photographs © Starflower Foundation unless otherwise noted.