Northwest Conifers

East Side Conifers

These conifers grow from the Cascade crest to other mountains on the east side of Oregon and Washington.

Common species

Ponderosa PinePonderosa Pine
  – Pinus ponderosa

Needles: Bundles of 3

Cones: Egg shaped

Bark: Orange puzzle pieces

Where: Below 5000 feet


Western JuniperWestern Juniper
 – Juniperus occidentalis

Leaves: Scaled, groups of 3, some awl-like

Cones: Bluish berries

Bark: Brown, becoming gray, flaky

Where: Dry areas


Douglas firDouglas Fir
 – Pseudotsuga menziesii

Needles: All around twig, soft points

Cones: 3-pointed bracts

Bark: Gray-brown, deep furrows on large trunks

Where: Below 5000 feet


Grand FirGrand Fir
  – Abies grandis

Needles:  Flattened on twig, white lines below

Cones: Upright at the tree top

Bark: Smooth, gray, small furrows on large trunks

Where: Below 5000 feet


Lodgepole PineLodgepole Pine
  – Pinus contorta

Needles: Bundles of 2

Cones: Egg shape and size

Bark: Dark gray, scaly

Where: Along the coast and above 3000 feet in the mountains


Incense CedarIncense Cedar
 – Calocedrus decurrens

Leaves: Long, flat scales

Cones: Shaped like a duck's bill

Bark: Brown with deep furrows

Where: Dry areas of Cascades


Western larchWestern Larch
 – Larix occidentalis

Needles: Bundles of 25

Cones: Rounded scales, whiskers

Bark: Flaky scales, furrowed

Where: East of the Cascade crest, up to 6000 feet


Engelmann spruceEngelmann Spruce
 – Picea engelmannii

Needles: Sharp, 4-sided, all around twig

Cones: Douglas fir size, paper-thin scales

Bark: Gray, scaly

Where: Cascades and Mts. to the east, above 3000 feet


Western White PineWestern White Pine
 – Pinus monticola

Needles: Bundles of 5

Cones: Banana shape and size

Bark: Furrowed with scaly plates, gray

Where: 3000-5000 feet


Sugar PineSugar Pine
 – Pinus lambertiana

Needles: Bundles of 5

Cones: Large, 10-20" long

Bark: Gray-brown with furrows

Where: Above 1000 feet south of the 45th parallel


High elevation species

These conifers grow near the timberline.

Noble FirNoble Fir – Abies procera

Needles: Bent like hockey sticks

Cones: 4-6" long, upright at tree top, whiskery bracts

Bark: Gray-brown, becoming furrowed

Where: Above 2000 feet in the Cascades


Pacific Silver FirPacific Silver Fir
 – Abies amabilis

Needles: Point up & forward, white lines below

Cones: Upright at treetop

Bark: Smooth, gray scaly plates

Where: Above 3000 feet in the Cascades


Alaska CedarAlaska Cedar
 – Callitropsis nootkatensis

Leaves: Short, scaled with flaring tips

Cones: Round

Bark: Gray-brown, shreddy strips

Where: Above 3000 feet


Mountain HemlockMountain Hemlock
 – Tsuga mertensiana

Needles: Short, flat, spread in all

Cones: Rounded scales

Bark: Gray, small deep furrows

Where: Above 4000 feet

Has drooping top


Subalpine FirSubalpine Fir
 – Abies lasiocarpa

Needles: Curved upward, white lines above & below

Cones: Upright at tree top, purple

Bark: Smooth, gray

Where: Above 4000 feet


Whitebark PineWhitebark Pine
 – Pinus albicaulis

Needles: Bundles of 5

Cones: Egg shape and size

Bark: Light gray, scaly

Where: At the timberline


Rare species

These conifers are rare east of the Cascade crest.

Western HemlockWestern Hemlock
–Tsuga heterophylla

Needles: Short, flat, irregular, white lines below

Cones: 3/4" long, rounded scales

Bark: Gray, small furrows

Where: Below 4000 ft. in western Oregon and Washington


Western Red CedarWestern Red Cedar
– Thuja plicata

Leaves: Flat, scaled, white butterflies below

Cones: 1/2" long, rose-shaped

Bark: Brown, stringy

Where: Wet areas below 5000 ft.


Pacific YewPacific Yew – Taxus brevifolia

Needles: Flat, flattened on twig, lighter green underneath

Fruit: Red berry-like aril

Bark: Thin gray scales over smooth red bark

Where: Wet shady areas below 5000 ft.


Common JuniperCommon Juniper
 – Juniperus communis

Needles:  Awl shaped, under 1"

Cones:  Berry-like, 0.3"

Bark: Brown

Where: Alpine areas, growing as a low spreading shrub.


Limber PineLimber Pine
 – Pinus flexilis

Needles: Bundles of 5, 2-3" long

Cones: 3-7" long, open when mature

Bark: Light gray, becoming brown and furrowed

Where: Wallowa Mountains


Rocky Mt. JuniperRocky Mountain Juniper
 – Juniperus scopulorum

Needles: Scaled, in opposite pairs

Cones:  Small blue berry

Bark: Brown with shredded scales

Where: Dry areas in mountains east of the Cascades


© 2016 Ken Denniston  nwconifers.com   Mobile: nwconifers.com/m