Pseudotsuga menziesii (Mirb.) P.taxifolia [Lamb.]Britt.)
Large, tall (70-90 m) coniferous tree. Crown of young trees pyramidal with a stiff erect leader. Branches spreading to drooping. Buds sharply pointed. Needles spirally arranges, flat, yellow-green, 2-3 cm long, with pointed tips, one grove on upper surface and two white bands of stomata on the lower surface. Trunk straight or slightly tapering, 1-3 (occasionally up to 5) m in diameter. Bark ultimately very thick, fluted, ridged, rough and greyish-brown. Pollen cones small, reddish-brown. Young seed cones hanging, oval, 5-10 cm long, green at flowering, turning reddish-brown to grey at maturity; scales papery; bracts prominent, 3-pronged, and extending beyond the scales. Seeds oblong-triangular, 5-7 mm long, terminally winged (Pojar and MacKinnon, 1994). Photo by Moralea Milne.
Grows in a mild and humid region with dry summers. Occurs on the Pacific Coast of North America from central BC south to central California. Extends from sea level to 2300m at its southernmost range.
Tolerates a wide range of soil textures and parent materials but grows best on well drained, deep, sandy loams.
Grows best on nitrogen rich soils.
soil reaction salinity
pH 5 to 5.5.
Grows best on moist, well-drained soils but does tolerate drought.
Seedlings require some shade to establish but then thrive in full sun.
Long-lived pioneer species in Cedar-Hemlock Zone. Climax or sub-climax species in Coastal Douglas-fir Zone with regular ground fires.
bec zone subzone status
Common constituent of Garry oak - Arbutus Community.
Good component of a disturbed land reclamation program (Rose et al., 1998).
Food and shelter for wildlife. Seeds important food for small mammals and birds. Buds and twigs browsed by black-tailed deer and Roosevelt elk (Farrar, 1995).
Good ornamental tree for gardens and parks. Good windbreak species (Bastin, pers com.).
Wood used for spear handles, harpoon shafts and barbs, dip-net poles, fire tongs, fishing weirs, spoons, caskets and halibut/cod hooks. Pitch used as a medicinal salve for wounds and skin irritations, for sealing joints and for caulking canoes and water containers. Wood and bark considered superior fuels (Pojar and MacKinnon, 1994).
Source of wood for lumber and pulp. Lumber used for structural purposes and was highly prized historically for sailing ship masts. Popular as a Christmas tree (Farrar, 1995).
fruit ripening time
Late August to September
seed collection time
Mid-August to October
Annually but heavy crops occur at 5-7 year intervals
no seeds per kg
33,950 to 116,845
No specific information but empty seed is common
collection and abstraction
Collect cones when they develop a brownish or purplish tinge - ideal collection period lasts only two to three weeks. Dry cones in well-ventilated sacks; can be stored for three to four months under such conditions. Open cones by air-drying in warm, dry weather for 8-21 days, then heating in a kiln at 35-40º C for 16-48 hours. Separate and clean seeds by tumbling the dried cones, screening out the seed, de-winging and fanning or blowing.
Store seed at 6-9% moisture content at -5-0ºC. Seed will remain viable for up to 20 years.
fruit seed dormancy treatment
Sow seed in fall and allow to stratify naturally over winter. Alternatively, stratify at 0-4º C for 30-40 days and sow in spring. Germination after storage is improved by moist pre-chilling.
additional info and photos
For more information and pictures, visit the E-Flora BC website at www.eflora.bc.ca.