Douglas-fir is the name of an entire genus of trees that contains six species--two native to North America and four native to eastern Asia. Because of its similarity to other genera, Douglas-fir has given botanists fits. It has, at various times, been called a pine, a spruce, a hemlock, and a true fir. In 1867, because of its distinctive cones, it was given its own genus--Pseudotsuga--which means false hemlock. The hyphen in the common name lets us know that Douglas-fir is not a "true" fir--that it's not a member of the Abies genus.
Only one Douglas-fir is native to the Pacific Northwest, and it's by far the most important member of the entire genus. Its common name is identical to that of the genus, reflecting its importance. (Pseudotsuga menziesii) is
Oregon's state tree.
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