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 firDouglas Fir
– Pseudotsuga menziesii

Needles: All around twig, soft points,

Cones: 3-pointed bracts

Bark: Gray with deep, brown 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


Western HemlockWestern Hemlock
–Tsuga heterophylla

Needles: Short, flat, irregular, white lines below

Cones: Small. Rounded scales

Bark: Small furrows, gray

Where: Below 4000 feet

Has drooping top


Western Red CedarWestern Red Cedar
– Thuja plicata

Leaves: Flat, scaled, white butterflies below

Cones: Tiny, rose-shaped

Bark: Brown, stringy

Where: Wet areas below 5000 feet


Rare Low-elevation Conifers

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.


Ponderosa Pine Ponderosa Pine
– Pinus ponderosa

Needles: Bundles of 3

Cones: 3-6" long, egg shaped

Bark: Orange puzzle pieces

Where: Rare in the Willamette Valey. Common east of the Cascade summit below 5000 ft.


Conifers found on the Pacific Coast

Sitka SpruceSitka Spruce – Picea sitchensis

Needles: All around twig, sharp points

Cones: 3" long, paper-thin scales

Bark: Gray, scaly

Where: Near coast and Columbia River


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 ft. in the mountains


© 2011 Ken Denniston  nwconifers.com