The majestic Douglas fir is named after Scottish botanist and collector David Douglas, who in 1827 sent the first seed from North America back to Britain. Its botanical name - Pseudotsuga menziesii - commemorates Archibald Menzies, who discovered the tree in 1791.
Facts about the Douglas fir
Uses: The Douglas fir is major timber species in its native North America, and its imported timber is sold here as ‘Oregon Pine’. Originally grown in this country for ornamental purposes, it is now a valuable timber tree used for sawmill timber and paper pulp. Today the timber is used for construction work, high quality plywood and veneers, as well as for furniture and panelling.
Seeds: The oval shaped cones hang downwards with a three point bract - a special type of leaf - on every scale.
Leaves: It has soft needles with two grey bands underneath.
Bark: Douglas fir’s bark is a reddish-brown, fissured and corky.
Height: The Douglas fir can grow to be very tall indeed, and can grow up to 60 metres in Britain.
Lifespan: 500 years
Natural range of parent species: from British Columbia to California
Famous Douglas fir trees
- Drumlanrig Douglas fir
Head to the Duke of Buccleuch’s Drumlanrig Estate and feast your eyes on one of the original Douglas firs David Douglas introduced back in 1827. The botanist’s brother worked on the estate as clerk.
- Dughall Mor
Inverness’ Reelig Glen may be packed with tall trees, but one stands head and shoulders above the rest. The impressive Dughall Mor - big dark stranger in Gaelic - measured in at 64 metres in 2005
- The Hermitage Douglas and the Dunkeld Douglas
Get two Douglas firs for the price of one, at the Hermitage woodland, near Dunkeld. One of the trees is amongst the tallest in the UK, standing at 59 metres, while the other which resides nearby next to Dunkeld Cathedral boasts a girth of 7 metres. The Hermitage is a lovely forest to visit, and is looked after by the National Trust for Scotland.