Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir
Pseudotsuga menziesii var. glauca

Secondary Names:
blue douglas fir

Leaf Type: Evergreen
Texas Native:
Tree Description:

In Texas the species reaches heights of 80 feet or more and a trunk diameters to 3 feet, with a dense, conical crown of blue-green foliage. In the Pacific Northwest, douglas-fir reaches a maximum size of 250 feet tall and a diameter of 10 to 12 feet.

Range/Site Description:

This valuable timber tree of the western U.S. reaches its extreme southeastern limit in the mountains of West Texas, including the Guadalupe and Chisos ranges, at elevations above 6,000 feet.


The leaves are needle-like, linear, more or less flattened, about 1" long, bluish-green, dull-tipped, and arranged closely in spirals around the stem.


The male conelets are reddish and scattered along the branchlets; the female conelets are attached singly to last year's branchlets. Both sexes on the same tree.


A woody cone, 2" to 3" long, reddish-brown, oblong, hanging downward (unlike true firs), and easily identified by the tongue-like bracts that extend from underneath each scale.


On young trees, gray-brown, often with resin blisters; older trees develop thick, dark gray to black bark with narrow ridges and deep fissures.


Wood is moderately light, red-tinted, and surrounded by nearly white sapwood. An important timber species for lumber and high-grade plywood; young douglas-firs are sold as Christmas trees.

Similar Species:

True cedars (genus Cedrus) such as deodar cedar have cones that sit upright and are often planted as ornamentals; Colorado blue spruce (Picea pungens) has sharp-pointed needles.

Interesting Facts:

Douglas-fir only occurs in the Guadalupe and Chisos mountains, but not the Davis mountains in between the two ranges, which remains a mystery.

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