Douglasfir seeds are used by blue grouse, songbirds, squirrels, rabbits and other small animals. Antelope, deer, elk, mountain goats and mountain sheep eat the twigs and foliage. It provides excellent cover for a wide range of animals.
While the Douglasfir may have first been introduced to cultivation by botanist-explorer David Douglas in 1826, its importance to American history continues unabated. As well as being the country's top source of lumber today, the Douglasfir also helped settle the West, providing railroad ties and telephone/telegraph poles. The Douglasfir was crucial to American soldiers in World War II as well, being used for everything from GIs' foot lockers to portable huts and even the rails of stretchers that carried many a soldier from battle. But perhaps one contribution of the Douglasfir symbolizes its place in America's evolving history more than any other. When in 1925 the time came to restore the masts of "Old Ironsides," the USS Constitution, sufficiently grand White Pine trees could no longer be found. Today, Old Ironsides proudly sails in the Boston Navy Yard under the power of three Douglasfir masts.
There are two geographical varieties of Douglasfir: the Coast Douglasfir (Pseudotsuga menziesii var. menziesii) native to British Columbia along the Pacific coast to central California and western Nevada and the Rocky Mountain Douglasfir (Pseudotsuga menziesii var. glauca) native to the inland mountains of the Pacific Northwest and the Rocky Mountains from central British Columbia south to northern and central Mexico. The Coastal variety is faster growing, long-lived, and can reach over 300' tall. The needles are usually a dark yellow-green, although some trees they may be bluish green. Rocky Mountain Douglasfir is hardier, slower growing, shorter-lived and seldom grows over 130' tall. The needles are shorter and bluish green, although in some trees may be yellowish green. The cones are barely 3" in length with bracts bent upwards.
Douglasfir is written as one word or hyphenated to indicate that it is not a true fir. It is the state tree of Oregon.