Northwest Conifers


East Side Conifers

These conifers grow on the eastern slopes of the Cascades and in other mountains to the east.

Common Species

Western Juniper  – Juniperus occidentalis

Western Juniper

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

Cones: Bluish berries

Bark: Brown, becoming gray, flaky

Where: Dry areas east of the Cascades

Ponderosa Pine – Pinus ponderosa

Ponderosa Pine

Needles: Bundles of 3, 5-10" long

Cones: 3-6" long, egg shaped

Bark: Orange puzzle pieces

Where: Rare west of the Cascades. Common east of the Cascades to 5000 ft.

Douglas Fir – Pseudotsuga menziesii

Douglas fir

Needles: 1" long, thin, soft points, all around twig

Cones: 3-4" long, 3-pointed bracts

Bark: Brown, deep furrows on large trunks

Where: Below 5000 ft.

Grand Fir  – Abies grandis

Grand Fir

Needles:  1-2" long, flat & flattened on twig, white lines below

Cones: 3-4" long, upright at tree top, purple

Bark: Smooth, gray, small furrows on large trunks

Where: Below 5000 ft.

Lodgepole Pine – Pinus contorta

Lodgepole Pine

Needles: Bundles of 2, 1-3" long

Cones: 2" long, egg shaped

Bark: Dark gray, scaly

Where: Along the coast and above 3000 ft. in the mountains

Incense Cedar – Calocedrus decurrens

Incense Cedar

Needles: Long, flat scales

Cones: 1" long, shaped like a duck's bill

Bark: Brown, deep furrows

Where: Dry areas of Cascades

Western Larch – Larix occidentalis

Western larch

Needles: Bundles of 25, 1-2" long

Cones: 1-2" long, whiskery bracts

Bark Flaky scales, furrowed

Where: East of the Cascade crest, up to 6000 ft.

Engelmann Spruce – Picea engelmannii

Engelmann spruce

Needles: Sharp, thin, 4-sided, all around twig

Cones: 3" long with paper-thin scales

Bark: Dark gray scales

Where: Cascades and Mts. to the east, 3000-6000 ft.

Western White Pine – Pinus monticola

Western White Pine

Needles: Bundles of 5, 2-4" long

Cones: 6-10" long, curved

Bark: Dark gray scaly plates

Where: 2000-5000 ft.

Sugar Pine – Pinus lambertiana

Sugar Pine

Needles: Bundles of 5, 2-4" long

Cones: Large, 10-20" long

Bark: Gray-brown with furrows

Where: Above 1000 ft. south of the 45th parallel

High elevation species

These conifers grow near the timberline.

Noble Fir – Abies procera

Noble Fir

Needles: Bent like hockey sticks

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

Bark: Gray-brown becoming furrowed

Where: Above 2000 ft. in western Oregon and Washington

Pacific Silver Fir  – Abies amabilis

Pacific Silver Fir

Cones: 3-6" long, upright at treetop

Bark: Smooth, gray scaly plates

Where: Above 3000 ft. in western Oregon and Washington

Alaska Cedar – Callitropsis nootkatensis

Alaska Cedar

Needles: Flat, scaled, prickly

Cones: Round, 3/8"

Bark: Gray-brown, shreddy strips

Where: Above 3000 ft.

Mountain Hemlock – Tsuga mertensiana

Mountain Hemlock

Needles: Short, flat, spread in all directions

Cones: 2" long, rounded scales

Bark: Gray, small deep furrows

Where: Above 4000 ft.

Has drooping top.

Subalpine Fir – Abies lasiocarpa

Subalpine Fir

Needles: Curved upward, white lines above & below

Cones: 2-4" long, upright at tree top, purple

Bark: Smooth, gray

Where: Above 4000 ft.

Whitebark Pine – Pinus albicaulis

Whitebark Pine

Needles: Bundles of 5, 1-3" long

Cones: 2-3" long, closed when mature

Bark: Light gray, scaly

Where: At the timberline

Rare Species

These conifers are rare east of the Cascade crest.

Western Hemlock –Tsuga heterophylla

Western Hemlock

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 Cedar – Thuja plicata

Western Red Cedar

Leaves: Flat, scaled, white butterflies below

Cones: 1/2" long, rose-shaped

Bark: Brown, stringy

Where: Wet areas below 5000 ft.

Pacific Yew – Taxus brevifolia

Pacific Yew

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.

Limber Pine – Pinus flexilis

Western Juniper

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 Mountain Juniper – Juniperus scopulorum

Rocky Mt. Juniper

Needles: Scaled, in opposite pairs

Cones:  Small blue berry

Bark: Brown with shredded scales

Where: Dry areas in mountains east of the Cascades

Common Juniper – Juniperus communis

Common Juniper

Needles:  Awl shaped, under 1"

Cones:  Berry-like, .3"

Bark: Brown

Where: Alpine areas growing as a low, spreading shrub