Northwest Conifers


Low-elevation Conifers

These conifers grow at elevations below 2000 feet in northwest Oregon and western Washington. All but Sitka Spruce also grow at higher elevations.

Common Low-elevation Conifers

Douglas Fir – Pseudotsuga menziesii

Douglas fir

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

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

Bark: Gray-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

Bark: Smooth, gray, small furrows on large trunks

Where: Below 5000 ft.

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.

Rare Low-elevation Conifers

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.

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.

Conifers found on the Pacific Coast

Sitka Spruce – Picea sitchensis

Sitka Spruce

Needles: Sharp, thin, flat, all around twig

Cones: 3" long, paper-thin scales

Bark: Gray, scaly

Where: Near coast and Columbia River

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


© 2011 Ken Denniston