Botanical Name : Pseudotsuga menziesii
Species: P. menziesii
Common Name :Douglas fir
Habitat :Native to Western N. America – Canada to California.And occasionally self-sows in Britain.
Grows in moist to very dry areas from sea level to near the tree-line in the Rocky mountains. The best specimens are found on well-drained deep loamy soils with plenty of moisture.
Coast Douglas-fir is currently the second-tallest conifer in the world (after Coast Redwood). Currently, Coast Douglas-fir trees 60–75 metres (200–246 ft) or more in height and 1.5–2 metres (4.9–6.6 ft) in diameter are common in old growth stands, and maximum heights of 100–120 metres (330–390 ft) and diameters up to 4.5–6 metres (15–20 ft) have been documented.> The tallest living specimen is the “Doerner Fir”, (previously known as the Brummit fir), 99.4 m (326 ft) tall, at East Fork Brummit Creek in Coos County, Oregon, the stoutest is the “Queets Fir”, 4.85 m (15.9 ft) diameter, in the Queets River valley, Olympic National Park, Washington. It commonly lives more than 500 years and occasionally more than 1,000 years.
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The bark on young trees is thin, smooth, gray, and contains numerous resin blisters. On mature trees, it is thick and corky. The shoots are brown to olive-green, turning gray-brown with age, smooth, though not as smooth as fir shoots, and finely pubescent with short dark hairs. The buds are a very distinctive narrow conic shape, 4–8 mm (0.16–0.31 in) long, with red-brown bud scales. The leaves are spirally arranged but slightly twisted at the base to lie in flattish either side of the shoot, needle-like, 2–3.5 cm (0.79–1.4 in) long, green above with no stomata, and with two whitish stomatal bands below. Unlike the Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir, Coast Douglas-fir foliage has a noticeable sweet fruity-resinous scent, particularly if crushed.
The mature female seed cones are pendent, 5–8 centimetres (2.0–3.1 in) long, 2–3 cm (0.79–1.2 in) broad when closed, opening to 4 cm (1.6 in) broad. They are produced in spring, green at first, maturing orange-brown in the autumn 6–7 months later. The seeds are 5–6 mm (0.20–0.24 in) long and 3–4 mm (0.12–0.16 in) broad, with a 12–15 mm (0.47–0.59 in) wing. The male (pollen) cones are 2–3 cm (0.79–1.2 in) long, dispersing yellow pollen in spring.
In forest conditions, old individuals typically have a narrow, cylindric crown beginning 20–40 metres (66–130 ft) above a branch-free trunk. Self-pruning is generally slow and trees retain their lower limbs for a long period. Young, open-grown trees typically have branches down to near ground level. It often takes 70–80 years for the trunk to be clear to a height of 5 metres (16 ft) and 100 years to be clear to a height of 10 metres (33 ft).
Appreciable seed production begins at 20–30 years in open-grown Coast Douglas-fir. Seed production is irregular; over a 5-7 year period, stands usually produce one heavy crop, a few light or medium crops, and one crop failure. Even during heavy seed crop years, only about 25 percent of trees in closed stands produce an appreciable number of cones. Each cone contains around 25 to 50 seeds. Seed size varies; average number of cleaned seeds varies from 70-88/g (32,000-40,000 per pound). Seeds from the northern portion of Coast Douglas-fir’s range tend to be larger than seed from the south.
Prefers a moist but not water-logged alluvial soil. Dislikes calcareous soils. Trees are a failure on dry hungry soils. Whilst they are moderately wind resistant, tall specimens are likely to lose their crowns once they are more than 30 metres tall in all but the most sheltered areas. A very ornamental tree, it is the most cultivated timber tree in the world and is extensively used for re-afforestation in Britain. There are several named varieties selected for their ornamental value. Trees can be established in light shade but this must be removed in the first few years or growth will suffer. Very slow growing for its first few years, growth soon becomes extremely fast with new shoots of up to 1.2 metres a year. This annual increase can be maintained for many years. Trees in sheltered Scottish valleys have reached 55 metres in 100 years. New growth takes place from May to July. The trees require abundant rainfall for good growth. Trees should be planted into their permanent positions when they are quite small, between 30 and 90cm. Larger trees will check badly and hardly put on any growth for several years. This also badly affects root development and wind resistance. Trees are very long-lived, specimens over 1,000 years old are known. Seed production commences when trees are about 10 years old, though good production takes another 15 – 20 years. Good crops are produced about every 6 years. This tree is a pioneer species because it cannot reproduce under its own canopy. The bark on mature trees can be 30cm thick, and this insulates the trunks from the heat of forest fires. This species is notably resistant to honey fungus. Young growth can be damaged by late frosts. The leaves have a strong sweet fruity aroma.
Seed – best sown in the autumn to winter in a cold frame so that it is stratified. The seed can also be stored dry and sown in late winter. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in light shade in the cold frame for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Seedlings tolerate light shade for their first few years of growth. Cones often fall from the tree with their seed still inside. If you have plenty of seed then it can be sown in an outdoor seedbed in early spring. Grow the plants on for at least two years in the seedbed before planting them out in late autumn or early spring.
Edible Parts: Inner bark; Manna.
Edible Uses: Coffee; Condiment; Gum; Tea.
Young shoot tips – used as a flavouring in cooked foods. A subtle woodsy flavour. A refreshing tea is made from the young leaves and twigs. Rich in vitamin C. It is used as a coffee substitute according to some reports. The fresh leaves have a pleasant balsamic odour and are used as a coffee substitute. Inner bark – dried, ground into a meal and mixed with cereals for making bread etc. A famine food used when all else fails. A sweet manna-like substance is exuded from the bark. This report possibly refers to the resin that is obtained from the trunk, and is used as a chewing gum by various native North American Indian tribes. Alternatively, the report could be referring to the sap which is used as a sugar-like food
Antirheumatic; Antiseptic; Kidney; Mouthwash; Poultice; Skin.
Douglas fir was often employed medicinally by various native North American Indian tribes who used it to treat a variety of complaints. It is little, if at all, used in modern herbalism. An antiseptic resin is obtained from the trunk. It is used as a poultice to treat cuts, burns, wounds and other skin ailments. The poultice is also used to treat injured or dislocated bones. The resin is used in the treatment of coughs and can be chewed as a treatment for sore throats. An infusion of the green bark has been used in the treatment of excessive menstruation, bleeding bowels and stomach problems. An infusion of the leaves has been used as a wash and a sweat bath for rheumatic and paralyzed joints. An infusion of the young sprouts has been used in the treatment of colds. An infusion of the twigs or shoots has been used in the treatment of kidney and bladder problems. A decoction of the buds has been used in the treatment of venereal disease. Young shoots have been placed in the tips of shoes to keep the feet from perspiring and to prevent athletes foot. A mouthwash is made by soaking the shoots in cold water.
Basketry; Cork; Dye; Fertilizer; Fuel; Insecticide; Resin; Shelterbelt; Tannin; Wood.
…..This tree balances ecology of nature.
A light brown dye is obtained from the bark. The bark is a source of tannins. The bark can be used as a cork substitute and is also used to make fertilizer. The bark contains pitch, it burns with a lot of heat and almost no smoke, so it is prized as a fuel. The small roots have been used to make baskets. The plant has insecticidal properties. A resin is obtained from the trunk, similar to Abies balsamea, which is used in the manufacture of glues, candles, as a cement for microscopes and slides and also as a fixative in soaps and perfumery. The resin can also be used as a caulking material on boats. A fast growing and fairly wind-resistant tree, it is often used in shelterbelt plantings. Wood – heavy, strong, fine grained, durable, though it can be of variable quality. It dries quickly, does not warp and is easily worked, it is used for heavy construction, telegraph poles, furniture etc. It is also used as a good quality fuel
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider