CHRISTMAS TREE: THE DOUGLAS FIR

The fraser fir is named for the Scottish explorer and botanist, David Douglas, (1750-1811).  He first discovered the tree in California in 1831.  It is, indeed, not a fir.  It belongs to a completely different genus, unknown to Europeans at the time.  It's sceintific name is: Pseudotsuga and even that is wrong, as it is not a pseudo suga, where suga is a Hemlock.  All the mis-naming aside, the tree has become to be called the Douglas Fir.  There are, in fact, two distinct varieties: Coastal Douglas Fir and Rocking Mountain Douglas Fir.  The Coastal Douglas Fir grows along the western-most portions of North America, from British Columbia to Mexico seen below.

douglas fir tree map west US

 The Rocking Mountain Douglas Fir grows principally along the Rocky Mountains, and heavily in the state of Utah:

douglas fir tree rocky mountains map

It's characteristics are ideally suited to Christmas tree decorating:

the color is a dark green, yet not as rich in appearance as others
the foliage is highly dense creating a superior backdrop to Christmas tree decorations
needle retention is moderate
needles are soft and radiate in all directions
strong branches that can maintain heavy Christmas tree ornaments
pleasant, light Fragrance

Here are 2 pictures of the Douglas Fir.  The photo on the left is a farm raised Coastal Douglas Fir tree.  The photo on the right is a naturally occuring Rocky Mountain Douglas Fir forest.

douglas fir tree on farm     douglas fir tree forest

The natural maximum height range of this tree is 200-250+ feet, making it the second tallest tree in the world, next only to the Redwoods.  Douglas Firs have been dated to 480 years old.  Here's a close up of the frond:

douglas fir needle pattern