Northwest Conifers


High-elevation Conifers

These conifers grow above 2000 feet elevation in northwest Oregon and western Washington. All of the low-elevation conifers except Sitka Spruce also grow at higher elevations.

Common High-elevation Conifers

Noble Fir – Abies procera

Noble Fir

Needles: Bent like hockey sticks

Cones: Upright at tree top, whiskery bracts

Bark: Gray-brown becoming furrowed

Where: Above 2000 feet

Mountain Hemlock – Tsuga mertensiana

Mountain Hemlock

Needles: Short, flat, spread in all directions

Cones: Rounded scales

Bark: Small deep furrows, gray

Where: Above 4000 feet

Has drooping top.

Pacific Silver Fir  – Abies amabilis

Pacific Silver Fir

Needles: Point up & forward, white lines below

Cones: Upright at treetop

Bark: Large, gray, scaly plates

Where: Above 3000 feet

Subalpine Fir – Abies lasiocarpa

Subalpine Fir

Needles: Curved upward, white lines above & below

Cones: Upright at tree top, purple

Bark: Smooth, gray

Where: Above 4000 feet

Other High-elevation Conifers

Western White Pine – Pinus monticola

Western White Pine

Needles: Bundles of 5

Cones: Banana shape and size

Bark: Dark gray, scaly plates

Where: 3000-5000 feet

Whitebark Pine – Pinus albicaulis

Whitebark Pine

Needles: Bundles of 5

Cones: Egg shape and size

Bark: Light gray, scaly

Where: At the timberline

Engelmann Spruce – Picea engelmannii

Engelmann spruce

Needles: All around twig, sharp points

Cones: Douglas fir size with paper-thin scales

Bark: Gray, scaly

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

Incense Cedar – Calocedrus decurrens

Incense Cedar

Leaves: Long, flat scales

Cones: 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

Cones: Rounded scales, whiskers

Bark Flaky scales, furrowed

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

Similar tree: Alpine Larch

Alaska Cedar – Callitropsis nootkatensis

Alaska Cedar

Leaves: Short, scaled with flaring tips

Cones: Round

Bark: Gray-brown, shreddy strips

Where: Above 3000 feet

Common Juniper – Juniperus communis

Common Juniper

Needles:  Awl shaped

Cones:  Berry-like, blue

Bark: Brown

Where: Alpine areas growing as a low, spreading shrub

© 2012 Ken Denniston