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History Of Oregon

Oregon (Douglas Fir)

Pseudotsuga menziesii

Archibald Menzies of Scotland, physician and naturalist, discovered the tree now called Douglas Fir in 1791 at Nootka Sound on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, while on the Vancouver expedition which was sent out to finish the British exploration of the Pacific remaining after Captain James Cook was killed on a previous voyage.

David Douglas, also from Scotland, rediscovered the tree in 1825 and introduced it into England.

There was a long controversy about how to classify this tree. Douglas Fir is not a true fir tree. It has needles similar to a fir (flat and soft), but the cones are more like spruce cones and not at all like fir cones. At one time the common name was Douglas spruce; hence the name of "Spruce Tree House" in Mesa Verde.

Botanists finally decided this tree was actually closest to the hemlocks, especially a hemlock of Japan called Tsuga, and a new genus Pseudotsuga ("pseudo-hemlock") was devised for the Douglas fir and its relatives. In the end there is a sharing of the credit for recognizing this tree: the scientific name is Pseudotsuga menziesii , so Douglas gets the common name and the species name remembers Menzies.

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