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 FirNoble Fir – Abies procera

Needles: Bent like hockey sticks

Cones: Upright at tree top, whiskery bracts

Bark: Gray-brown, becoming furrowed

Where: Above 2000 feet


Mountain HemlockMountain Hemlock
 – Tsuga mertensiana

Needles: Short, flat, spread in all

Cones: Rounded scales

Bark: Small deep furrows, gray

Where: Above 4000 feet

Has drooping top


Pacific Silver FirPacific Silver Fir
 – Abies amabilis

Needles: Point up & forward, white lines below

Cones: Upright at treetop

Bark: Large, gray, scaly plates

Where: Above 3000 feet


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


Other High-elevation Conifers

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


Whitebark PineWhitebark Pine
 – Pinus albicaulis

Needles: Bundles of 5

Cones: Egg shape and size

Bark: Light gray, scaly

Where: At the timberline


Engelmann spruceEngelmann Spruce
 – Picea engelmannii

Needles: All around twig, sharp points

Cones: Douglas fir size, paper-thin scales

Bark: Gray, scaly

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


Incense CedarIncense Cedar
 – Calocedrus decurrens

Leaves: Long, flat scales

Cones: Shaped like a duck's bill

Bark: Brown, 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

Similar tree: Alpine Larch


Alaska CedarAlaska Cedar
 – Callitropsis nootkatensis

Leaves: Short, scaled with flaring tips

Cones: Round

Bark: Gray-brown, shreddy strips

Where: Above 3000 feet


Alpine larchAlpine Larch
 – Larix lyalii

Needles: Bundles of 25

Cones: Rounded scales, whiskers

Bark: Brown or gray with flaky scales

Where: North Cascade of Washington, up to 6000 feet


Common JuniperCommon Juniiper
- Juniperus communis

Needles: Awl shaped, sets of 3

Cones: Berry like, blue with white bloom

Bark: Brown

Where: Near the timberline


See also 

Alpine Conifers

© 2012 Ken Denniston