5 Things that May Surprise You about Douglas Fir
by Trisha Mead
1.IT’S NOT ACTUALLY FIR.
Technically, Douglas Fir is a pine or a spruce and so is often written in botanical texts at “Douglas-fir” to keep it distinct from actual Fir species.
True firs have cones that sit upright like little owls on their branches. The Douglas fir cone hangs down and stays intact when it falls to the ground.
Left: Douglas Fir cone
Right: True Fir cone
See the difference?
Little owls vs. graceful art nouveau chandelier shapes.
2. IT WAS NOT NAMED AFTER A GUY NAMED DOUG.
It’s named after a guy named David. That would be David Douglas, the 19th century botanist famous for identifying a variety of Pacific NW plant species that are now cultivated all over the world. Also named after David? David Douglas High School and the Douglas Squirrel.
3. THE ROOF OF THE TACOMA DOME IS ONE OF THE LARGEST WOOD GEODESIC STRUCTURES IN THE WORLD.
The wood was salvaged from the volcanic blowdown of Mount St. Helens.
How cool is THAT?
4.YOU CAN DRINK IT.
Doug Fir buds are used to create a special eau de vie brandy from Clear Creek Distillery that runs about $50 a bottle.
5. ANCIENT HAWAIIANS USED FIR TO BUILD WAR CANOES.
Though there are no native Douglas Fir stands in Hawaii (there are a small number of trees planted on the grave of David Douglas who is buried there), there are evidently ancient Hawaiian canoes made of Doug Fir. It turns out that Douglas Fir logs would wash ashore in Hawaii from clear across the Pacific. The Hawaiians carved them into outrigger canoes.
Of course today Douglas Fir is one of the most widely used lumber products in the world. Clear Vertical Grain Douglas Fir is particularly well suited to the custom manufacture of wood windows and doors for use in the Pacific NW due to its exceptional durability in our wet climate. We’re pretty in love with the stuff around here.
You can learn more about Doug Fir (and some of the iconic local landmarks that were built with it) at our Whiskey and Windows reception on March 19th at the Architectural Heritage Center. Get the details and RSVP here.