Trees of Oregon’s forests

Traveling across the state, you soon discover that Oregon is home to a wide range of trees. There are 30 native coniferous species and 37 native species of broadleaf trees. Oregon varies greatly in terms of elevation, temperature, wind, rainfall and soil composition. Combinations of all these factors help determine the dominant tree species of an area.

Tree Guide
Geography:
Type:
Atlas Cedar
Bigleaf Maple
Bitter Cherry
Black Cottonwood
California Black Oak
California hazel
California red fir
Canyon live oak
Cascara buckthorn
Cedar of Lebanon
Chokecherry
Coast Redwood
Deodar Cedar
Douglas-fir
Engelmann Spruce
Golden Chinquapin
Grand Fir
Incense-cedar
Jeffrey Pine
Juniper
Knobcone Pine
Lodgepole Pine
Noble Fir
Oregon Ash
Oregon White Oak
Pacific Dogwood
Pacific Madrone
Pacific Silver Fir
Pacific Yew
Paper Birch
Ponderosa Pine
Port-Orford-Cedar
Quaking Aspen
Red Alder
Sitka Spruce
Subalpine Fir
Sugar Pine
Vine Maple
Western Larch
Western Hemlock
Western Redcedar
Western White Pine
White Alder
White Fir
Willow
Atlas Cedar
(Cedrus atlantica)

The African conifer
As the common name indicates, this tree is native to the Atlas Mountains of North Africa and is one of our few representatives from that continent. 

Range
It is typically cultivated as an ornamental tree in temperate climates of Oregon because it is more tolerant of dry and hot conditions than most conifers.

Character
This distinctive evergreen has silver blue-green needles. Pyramidal in its youth, it becomes massive with horizontal, spreading branches. The Atlas cedar lives long and requires a lot of space to develop freely, growing 40 to 60 feet high with a 30- to 40-foot spread. Male cones are 2 to 3 inches and form on the lower part of tree, with larger purple female cones developing on top branches. Its needles are blue-green in color, about 1 inch long with a white color underneath.

Understory
At use in landscaping and urban settings, its understory is often determined by design.  However, native species of shrubs and trees should be removed to reduce competition and improve growing conditions.

Climate
The species is hardy to at least -4°F, but growth and survival are poor in high rainfall areas, so planting should be confined to warmer areas with moderate annual rainfall.

Bigleaf Maple
(Acer macrophyllum)

Big and beautiful
The bigleaf maple has the largest leaves of all the maples, hence the name. The wood of the maple is used for furniture, cabinets and flooring, among other products. The sap of the bigleaf maple can be used for maple syrup production, though not commercially. It produces a unique yet equally delicious condiment.

Range
It is widely distributed throughout western Oregon and is capable of growing on a wide variety of sites and soils, and regenerating in the shade of other species. Bigleaf maple can form pure stands but are usually found in riparian hardwood forests or mixed with evergreens or oaks.

Character
The bigleaf maple is a medium to large, shade-tolerant broadleaf tree up to 120 feet tall.

Climate
The bigleaf maple can grow in a wide range of temperatures and moisture, from moist and cool coastal regions to areas with dry, warm seasons.

Understory
Many animals take advantage of living in or near the maple for its highly palatable leaves, good seed production and nesting possibilities. Other delicious plants are found nearby, including salmonberries and swordfern.

Management
Under intensive management, rotations of 50 years or less can be used. Bigleaf maple is a vigorous stump sprouter, and often forms multiple stem sprout clumps after a tree is cut. The clumps need to be thinned to the one good stem if maple sawlogs are the goal.

Bitter Cherry
(Prunus emarginata)

Both food and shelter for wildlife
Often more of a shrub than a tree, bitter cherry creates beautiful red fruits that look delicious but taste awful. Parts of the bitter cherry tree were used for poultices and bark infusions by Native Americans.

Range
Bitter cherry occurs in a variety of habitats, from mountain brush to woodland and riparian areas. In Oregon, the bitter cherry tree is often found in ponderosa pine and Douglas-fir forests.

Character
The bitter cherry is a medium deciduous tree that grows up to 50 feet tall. Leaves are oblong to oval with small teeth and rounded tips. Flowers are highly fragrant, and the smooth bark is dark brown to red with small gray interrupted bands.

Climate
Grows on moist, sunny sites throughout much of Oregon; it is adaptable to a wide range of temperatures and precipitation.

Understory
Dense thickets of bitter cherry provide important cover for wildlife and roosting sites. Deer and elk will eat leaves and twigs. Birds and small mammals will eat the fruits, but humans can get sick from them as they are, as their name indicates, quite bitter.

Management
For optimal results, bitter cherry should be propagated from seed, but can also be propagated from softwood stem or root cuttings. If used to enhance wildlife habitat, the bitter cherry should be protected from browsing animals for at least three years after planting.

Black Cottonwood
(Populus trichocarpa)

A well-read species
The black cottonwood’s lightweight and strong for its weight, so it is used for plywood and high-quality book and magazine paper. Native Americans used the bark for treating all kinds of ailments, such as wounds and rheumatism. Today we know that the bark contains salicin, which is very similar in structure to aspirin.

Range
It is restricted to stream and river courses throughout Oregon’s valley floors and foothills, where it can grow as extensive stands. It is particularly well suited to well-drained, gravelly soils near streams and tolerant of flooding. It has a low drought tolerance.

Character
The black cottonwood is a fast-growing, large broadleaf tree that can grow up to 200 feet tall and more than 8 feet in diameter. It is the tallest broadleaf tree in western North America. The bark is gray with tenticels, and leaves are glossy dark green on top and light green on the undersides. Although fast-growing, this sun-loving tree does not have a long life span, with trees rarely living more than 100 years.

Climate
Black cottonwood prefers moist, riparian areas at elevations of 0-6,000 feet. It grows best in full sunlight.

Understory
The leaves and shoots are highly prized as food for many wildlife species, including deer, elk and beaver. Large birds often use the tree fortheir nesting sites.

Management
It is best to manage these trees to keep the possibility of fire aslow as possible, as any fire will kill their seeds. A very fast-growing hybrid of black cottonwood and eastern cottonwood is grown in plantations in Oregon for pulp, lumber and biomass.

California Black Oak
(Quercus kelloggii)

Tribal roots
California black oak provided a fountain of resources to Native Americans of Oregon, including food, medicine, dyes, utensils, games, toys and construction materials. Acorns formed a staple food throughout much of Oregon and were eaten in the form of a soup, mush, bread or patties. Today, acorns are still gathered by people of many different tribes in southern Oregon and relished as food. 

Range
California black oak is distributed along foothills and lower mountains of California and southern Oregon.

Character
The California black oak is a hardwood tree with a broad rounded crown from 32 to 80 feet high. It is the largest mountain oak in the West. The trunk bark is dark and covered with small plates. The bright green leaves are distinctly six-lobed, ending in one to four bristles. The acorns are  1 to 1.5 inches in length and mature in the second year.

Understory
Common shrub associates include greenleaf manzanita, whiteleaf manzanita, deerbrush, bear-clover, oceanspray and poison-oak. Understory vegetation is generally sparse under California black oak, although shrubs may become abundant and competitive after fire or cutting.

Climate
California black oak is adapted to a climate characterized by hot, dry summers and cool, moist winters. Its climate has an average annual precipitation range of 30 to 70 inches. California black oak grows best in a zone where 10 to 50 percent of the precipitation occurs as snow.

Management
Several attributes qualify the wood of California black oak for commercial use: attractive grain and figure for paneling and furniture, hardness and finishing qualities for flooring, and strength properties for pallets, industrial flooring and other uses. California black oak is intolerant of shade for most of its life. Young seedlings can persist in the shade; saplings can survive as intermediate trees, growing tall and thin toward the light. California black oak will grow toward openings, leaning as much as 15 to 20 degrees.

California hazel
(Corylus cornuta)

You Say Hazelnut, I Say Filbert
In Oregon, you might hear its nut described as a filbert, which is correct. The filbert tree is a close relative of the California hazel and a variety that is native to Oregon. Nearly 99 percent of the nation's filbert crop is produced in Oregon and often marketed as hazelnuts, to avoid confusion.

Range
In its natural setting it is mostly found on damp rocky slopes and stream banks in the understory of coniferous or mixed hardwood forests.

Character
Native shrubs or small trees form thickets growing 3 to 50 feet tall.  Its main stem is straight, with spreading, ascending branches. Leaves are often velvety-hairy, nearly round to ovate and 1.5 to 4 inches in length. Tiny filaments protrude from the husk and may stick and irritate the skin.

Understory
California hazelnut is used in hedgerow, riparian and wildlife habitat plantings to provide cover and food. Many animals including squirrels, chipmunks, jays, grouse and pheasant eat the nuts.

Climate
Plants are hardy and can withstand winters to 0°F and can be found in elevations up to 8,000 feet with high annual precipitation.

Management
California hazelnut does well in full sun or shade, and prefers moist but well-drained, loamy, acid soils. California hazelnut may need to be watered during the first year or two, but requires little management once established.

Fire kills the above-ground portion of the shrub, but it resprouts fairly readily after fire, and in fact American Indians in California and Oregon used fire to encourage hazelnut growth.

California red fir
(Abies magnifica)

Protecting our water source
The California red fir often dominates large areas of high country that are a major watershed, particularly in California. For this reason it has long been an important forest tree.The name red fir derives from the bark color of old trees. The wood is straight-grained, light and soft but stronger than the wood of other firs.  It is used for fuel, coarse lumber, quality veneer, solid framing, plywood and printing paper.

Range
The California red fir is native to the mountains of southwest Oregon and California. It is a high-elevation tree, typically occurring at elevations of between 4,600 and 8,900 feet, though rarely reaching the tree line.

Character
This species has a narrow conical crown with horizontal branches and flattened needles, about 1 inch long, resembling a hockey stick. Male cones are purple to dark red and female cones are reddish-brown and located near the top of the crown. 

Understory
Dense red fir stands on good-quality sites usually have no understory vegetation.

Climate
Climate for the red fir is relatively mild for high-elevation forests, with summer temperatures only occasionally exceeding 85°F and winter temperatures rarely below -29°F. Best growth appears to be in areas that receive between 30 and 49 inches of precipitation annually.

Management
The California red fir is a climax species nearly everywhere it is found, maturing in approximately 140 years. It is responsible for much of the timber volume in California, but is less accessible in the high altitudes of the Siskiyou and Cascades ranges in Oregon where harvesting is minimal.

Canyon live oak
(Quercus chrysolepis)

Tree or shrub, it's all about location
This oak grows best in sheltered canyons, and can reach heights of 80 feet or more. However, on exposed mountain slopes, it is often a small shrub forming dense thickets. Because it is an attractive tree that grows easily on steep, rocky slopes, it is desirable to urban planners as a slope stabilizer.

Range
In the northern part of its range, this oak often dominates steep, shallow, rocky ledges with little soil development. It can grow at elevations of 1,600 to 5,000 feet in southwestern Oregon and on the lower, interior slopes of Oregon’s Coast and Cascade ranges.

Character
An evergreen tree with a rounded, dense crown, it may also be a low shrub in dry, open habitats. The mature bark is gray and scaly. Leaves are oblong to elliptic, 1 to 1 ½ inches long, flat, firm and toothed at themargins. With older trees the leaves appear smoother.

Understory
Dense thickets and infertile soil keep its understory free of most other plants and shrubs. However, this species does provide shelter, and its acorns are an important source of food for jays, woodpeckers, mountain quail, ground squirrels and mule deer.

Climate
Canyon live oak occurs in climates characterized by mild, wet winters and hot, dry summers.

Management
Canyon live oak is considered a non-manageable hardwood; however, its rapid sprout growth make it an excellent source of fuel wood. Manufactured into paneling, the wood makes an attractive multicolored interior wall covering.

Cascara buckthorn
(Rhamnus purshiana)

Just ask your pharmacist
Cascara means “bark” in Spanish. The bark of this shrubby tree has been used for at least 1,000 years as a powerful laxative and is still collected for that purpose. Pharmaceutical companies process 5 million pounds of cascara bark from the Pacific Northwest annually for use in laxatives. Due to these laxative properties, it is a good idea NOT to use cascara for hot dog or marshmallow sticks when camping or picnicking.

Range
Usually in the understory, found throughout western Oregon on moist, well-drained sites. It typically grows as a second-generation tree after alders have grown on barren soil.

Character
It is easy to spot because of buds covered only by soft fuzz during winter. Seldom taller than 40 feet and often more shrubby. It features tiny flowers, each with five greenish-yellow petals. It’s fruit is bright red at first, quickly changing to deep purple or black.

Understory
The cherry-like fruit is inedible to humans. Grouse and raccoons eat the fruit and will pass the seed undigested, so it may be widely distributed.

Climate
It grows on the western side of the state, spanning fromBritish Columbia down into northern California.

Management
Cascara sprouts vigorously, so is often found in stands that have been logged or burned.

Cedar of Lebanon
(Cedrus libani)

A historic species
The cedar of Lebanon is the national emblem of Lebanon, and is displayed on its coat of arms. It is also the logo of Middle East Airlines. It symbolizes eternity, strength and endurance. The large forests of Lebanon cedars of ancient days no longer exist. But because of its beauty and history, the Lebanon cedar has been planted throughout the world.

Range
Lebanon cedars grow at elevations of 4,300 to 6,900 feet. They grow best in deep soil on slopes facing the sea. The trees require a lot of light and about 40 inches of rain a year.

Character
The first thing you notice about the Lebanon cedar is the large wide horizontal branches. It can grow 80 feet tall and spread out from 30 to 50 feet wide. It grows very slowly but often lives for centuries. The oldest known cedar of Lebanon is more than 1,000 years old. Its needles are about ½ -1 ½ inches long, stiff, and four-sided, tapering toward their points and grouped in tufts of 30 to 40.

Understory
When its needles fall to the ground they don't decay for several years.  This stifles scrub growth, so its understory is often a low undergrowth of grasses.

Climate
The cedar of Lebanon is the most cold-tolerant species of cedar. It is very similar to the Atlas Cedar, but has a much thicker trunk and, like the Atlas cedar, it is not suited to street plantings, but makes an exceptional specimen tree.

Management
The cedar of Lebanon prefers well-drained, fertile soil, but can tolerate infertile, dry or alkaline soil and, while it requires full sun, it is intolerant of humidity.

Chokecherry
(Prunus virginiana)

Sacagawea’s fruit
The chokecherry is closely related to the black cherry. Chokecherries were the most important fruit in several Native American tribes, as it was not only used for food but for medicinal purposes as well, including the treatment of fevers and colds. Legend has it the Sacagawea was captured by Blackfoot while she collected chokecherries and taken east, where she met Lewis and Clark.

Range
Grows throughout the West but also spans Canada and the northern U.S.

Character
The chokecherry can be described as either a large deciduous shrub or a small tree, seldom above 30 feet. Its bark is thin and scaly yet without lenticels, and the leaves are simple and oval-shaped. Fruit is small and purple with a single seed inside.

Understory
Deer and elk will eat leaves and twigs. Birds and small mammals will eat the fruits.

Climate
It loves sunny, moist areas in the southern Willamette Valley, southwestern Oregon and northeast Oregon.

Management
The management of chokecherry requires control of weedy vegetation and treatment for potential diseases.

Coast Redwood
(Sequoia sempervirens)

The mystical giant
The coast redwood is a long-living, giant conifer native to the coast of northern California and southern Oregon, although the genus once spanned the globe. It can live well over 1,000 years! Although its presence is no longer global, its beauty and size are still known the world over. The name redwood comes from the reddish-brown color of the heartwood, which is coveted but also protected in national, state and local parks.

Range
Coast redwood is the rarest forest type in Oregon. It is the northernmost extension of the much larger redwood forest of northern California, reaching only about 10 miles across the border into southern Oregon. In general, Oregon's redwoods are found on mountainous slopes, rather than in river bottoms like their California counterparts. As a result they tend to be smaller than their southern neighbors.

Character
The coast redwood is one tough tree. Its bark is so thick – up to 12 inches deep – that it is highly resistant to fire damage. The heartwood of the coast redwood is resilient and repels insects and decay. And if you see many little trees near one another, they may just be coming from the same root system. Redwoods are notorious for sprouting. It can reach more than 3 feet in diameter and more than 100 feet in height in 50 to 60 years. Most trees grow to be more than 300 feet tall and 10 feet wide. 

Understory
Oftentimes, huckleberry, ferns, wood rose and salmonberry bushes are found in the understory of redwood forests along with chickadees, hummingbirds and Vaux's swifts. Debris on the forest floor is quite important, as fallen trees, needles and dead plants provide nutrients for redwoods and ferns.

Climate
The coastal redwood is tolerant of shade and likes moist, well-drained areas, although freezing can damage it. It prefers wet, mild maritime climates with frequent summer fog because “fog drip” is an important source of moisture during dry summer months.

Management
Redwood forests can be managed as even- or uneven-aged stands, with clearcut or individual tree selection harvesting techniques. The beautiful wood from these forests is used for a variety of lumber, furniture, and bark products.

Deodar Cedar
(Cedrus deodara)

Timber of the gods
The deodar cedar is native to the Himalayan Mountains, where its local name is deodar, which translates from the original Sanskrit as "timber of the gods." It was officially introduced into cultivation about 1831, although it has been grown in Chinese parks and gardens for centuries.

Range
It is widely grown as an ornamental tree, and is often found in urban forests and parks and along highway medians.

Character
With its pyramidal shape, soft grayish-green needles and drooping branches, this cedar makes a graceful specimen. Growing rapidly to 40 to 50 feet tall and 20 to 30 feet wide, it also works well as a soft screen. Needles are borne in dense clusters on large, woody pegs and are 1 to 2 inches long.

Understory
At use in landscaping and urban settings, the understory is often determined by design.  However, native species of shrubs and trees should be removed to reduce competition and improve growing conditions.

Climate
General cultivation is limited to areas with mild winters, as these trees are frequently killed by temperatures below −13 °F. Prefers sunny and well-drained locations.

Management
The deodar cedar does well in dry, sunny spots and will tolerate high pH and clay soil. Cold-damaged trees die back at the top. Deodar cedar grows best in acidic, loamy, well drained, sandy to clay soils. Once established in the landscape it is considered drought-tolerant. This evergreen makes an excellent landscape specimen tree if space is available.

Douglas-fir
(Pseudotsuga menziesii)

The undisputed champion of the building industry
Engineers marvel at its dimensional stability and strength. Architects and designers admire its close grain and the warmth, beauty and structural integrity it brings to a room. Floor to ceiling, you'll find Douglas-fir structural lumber and products in homes throughout the world. Its strength and availability in large dimensions make it outstanding for heavy-duty construction as well, such as trestles, bridges and commercial buildings. Millions of Douglas-fir Christmas trees are exported from Oregon each year.

Range
Douglas-fir trees are important as habitat for nesting birds, and decaying trees and snags are a key source of cavities for woodpeckers and other cavity nesters.

Character
A large, sun-loving conifer capable of living hundreds of years, attaining more than 200 feet in height and 10 feet in diameter.

Understory
Understories vary from dense to sparse depending on the availability of moisture, but are generally rich in shrubs and herbs. Douglas-fir is a long-lived, early- to mid-successional species. This means that it can colonize recently disturbed sites and continues to dominate them for hundreds of years.

Climate
Douglas-fir forests grow under a wide variety of conditions. The climate of west-side Douglas-fir forests ranges from wet and mild in the north to drier and warmer in the south. East-side Douglas-fir forests are drier than those of southwestern Oregon, and have more extreme temperature fluctuations both daily and seasonally.

Management
Prior to human management, Douglas-fir forests originated following large disturbances such as fire, landslides and windstorms, often resulting in patchy even-aged stands. Forest management practices such as clearcutting and shelterwood harvests, followed by planting and thinning, result in similar even-aged stands. Douglas-fir trees become commercially valuable around the age of 30 years. Rotation lengths range from 30 years to over a hundred years, depending on management objectives. In drier areas like southwestern and eastern Oregon, management practices can include individual tree and small-group selection harvests, resulting in uneven-aged stands.

Engelmann Spruce
(Picea engelmannii)

One sweet-sounding spruce
The wood from the Engelmann spruce is of very good quality, light in weight and straight-grained with a yellowish color. These qualities make it highly desirable in the making of acoustic guitars and harps.

Range
Engelmann spruce is found in some of the highest and coldest forest environments in the western United States. Its forest home is characterized by long, cold winters with heavy snowpack, and short, cool summers. You’ll also find stands at lower elevations along stream bottoms where cold air flows down the valley and collects in localized frost pockets.

Character
The Engelmann spruce is a large tree, averaging 30 inches in diameter and 90 feet in height, reaching mature size in about 150 years. Its crown is shaped like a pyramid, with the top somewhat rounded and limbs extending nearly to the ground. At very high elevations, the crown becomes distorted or the whole tree may be shrub-like in appearance. Its leaves are needle-like, about 1 inch long, blue-green in color, stiff and pointed. The needles are known for being stinky when crushed. The bark is thin, seldom exceeding ½ inch in thickness, and is composed of loosely attached red-brown scales.

Understory
Engelmann spruce is shade-tolerant and consequently will establish itself under other forest types such as aspen or lodgepole pine. Engelmann spruce has no value as a forage species, but the seeds are eaten by several species of small mammals and birds. It does provide excellent hiding and thermal cover for deer, elk, moose, bighorn sheep and bear.



Climate
Engelmann spruce grows in areas of high precipitation, usually in the form of snow. Its climate is characterized by long, cold winters and short, cool summers. It occupies one of the highest forest environments and has adapted to temperature extremes.

Management
Engelmann spruce has been, and continues to be, a lumber source, but because it is found at high elevations, it is difficult to harvest. In addition to saw timber, it is used for poles, railroad ties and mine props. 

Golden Chinquapin
(Castanopsis chrysophylla)

Yellow leaves and spiny fruit
The golden chinquapin is a part of the beech family. The burr-covered fruit contains two triangular nuts popular with chipmunks and squirrels. The tree looks like a cross between a chestnut and oak, and the leaves are golden on the underside. It produces a unique and easily distinguishable spiny fruit that contains nuts that were eaten by Native Americans and wildlife.

Range
Scattered, on well-drained, usually rocky soils in the foothill forests of the southern Willamette Valley and southwest Oregon, below 5,000 feet.

Character
An evergreen broadleaf tree to 80 feet tall, or at higher elevations it may be a shrub. It has intermediate shade tolerance. Leaves remain on the tree for three to four years and are simple with no teeth, but with golden scales on the underside and a thinner layer on the topside.

Understory
Golden chinquapin can either be a subdominant tree or a dominant understory shrub, depending upon conditions like moisture, elevation and overstory density.

Climate
The golden chinquapin loves moist soil and sunlight.

Management
Golden chinquapin will stump-sprout, so sprouts need to be thinned when managing for chinquapin or controlled when managing for conifers. As a shade-intolerant tree, pre-commercial thinning will encourage growth.

Grand Fir
(Abies grandis)

From Christmas trees to Christmas wrapping
Popular in the Cascade range, the grand fir is often found growing alongside Douglas-fir and can even reach up to 300 feet in height. It’s a good-smelling tree with a thick foliage of citrus-scented needles, making it ideal for Christmas trees and decorations. Besides serving as decoration, the soft wood from the grand fir is often used for papermaking and packing crates. Long ago, some Native Americans used the inner bark for treating colds and fevers and used the needles in tea.

Range
In addition to growing alongside Douglas-firs, the grand fir also grows well with western hemlock, ponderosa pine and Engelmann spruce. It’s shade-tolerant and prefers cool, moist sites from the valley floor up into the foothills, and survives well up to 5,000 feet.

Character
The grand fir features thick foliage of flattened, glossy green needles 1-2 inches in length with two white striations on the undersides. Cones typically measure 3-5 inches long and 1-2 inches wide with 150 short scales that encase small winged seeds. The grand fir’s thin bark makes it susceptible to fire. Without frequent fires, the grand fir would likely be the predominant conifer species in old-growth forests on the valley floor.

Understory
The understory of a grand fir forest includes white alders, huckleberries, elk sedges and pinegrass. Grazers like deer, black bear and elk tend to love these areas.

Climate
Although it can survive dry spells, it tends to love cool weather and can even survive harsh winter conditions with temperatures down to -100° F! This is one reason they also do well in British Columbia and Montana where the winters are harsh.

Management
Shelterwood cuttings are preferred for grand fir for even-aged management, because regeneration and early growth are best in partial shade, although it does regenerate well following seed tree or clearcutting. Pole-size and larger grand fir respond well to thinning and selection cuttings.

Incense-cedar
(Calocedrus decurrens)

Ever wonder why pencils smell so good?
The name of the incense-cedar is a bit of a misnomer, because it is in fact not a true cedar. The only true cedars are found in the Mediterranean and Himalayas. Even so, the incense-cedar in Oregon is composed of fragrant wood that is resistant to insects and decay. Ever wondered why pencils sometimes smell so nice? They may just be made from incense-cedar. Its soft and pliable wood makes it ideal for producing pencils. 

Range
Incense-cedar is often found on drier sites in the southern Willamette Valley and continue into the mountains of southwestern and eastern Oregon. It is a prolific seeder and has a great shade tolerance, which means seedlings and saplings do well even in the shade of larger trees.

Character
Incense-cedar can grow up to 150 feet. It often looks like a perfect pyramid when young, but will grow twisted and rumpled as it matures. It features scaly leaves that are longer than they are wide, unlike other false cedars, whose leaves are usually just as wide as they are long. The cones of an incense-cedar look like duck bills when closed and flying geese when open. 

Understory
Incense-cedar grows well with lodgepole pine and other pine trees. The understory of these kinds of forests include snowberry, heartleaf arnica and antelope bitterbush, and is typically inhabited by chickadees, squirrels and Stellar’s jays.

Climate
Although the incense-cedar prefers direct sunlight, moist soil and a cool environment, it is well adapted to droughty conditions and extreme temperatures.

Management
Although the aromatic wood of incense-cedars is resistant to many insects and diseases, the heartwood can become infested with pocket dry rot as the tree matures.

Jeffrey Pine
(Pinus jeffreyi)

At home in nearly any environment
The Jeffrey pine can occupy a diverse range of climatic conditions, from the arid slopes bordering deserts to the edges of moist, high mountain meadows. It grows well on harsh and infertile sites. It is tolerant of drought and adapts to cold weather because it requires a shorter growing season than most pines.

Range
It is found primarily in northern California, extending through the Klamath Mountains into southwestern Oregon. It is a high-altitude species in the north of its range, thriving in altitudes of 4,900 to 6,900 feet where the usually faster-growing ponderosa pine does poorly.

Character
The Jeffrey pine may live 400 to 500 years, and can attain immense size, typically 4 to 6 feet in diameter and 170 to 200 feet in height. Its needles are in bundles of three and are 7 to 11 inches long. Its cones are oval and lack the spines found on ponderosa pine cones. Each scale has a curved J-shaped look.

Understory
Jeffrey pine forests provide wildlife cover for birds small mammals and big game. Its seeds are both disseminated and eaten by insects, birds, and small mammals such as mice, chipmunks and tree squirrels.

Climate
Jeffrey pine grows well in a variety of climate conditions, but in general it does best in areas with short, cool summers and long, cold winters during which the ground is covered with snow for long periods.

Management
In field plantations the Jeffrey pine grows less rapidly than ponderosa pine during the sapling stage, but more rapidly in the pole stage. Survival and growth depend on site preparation and post-planting protection against aggressive understory plants. Brush, grasses and sedges all are lethal competition for available soil water in dry summer environments.

Juniper
(Juniperus spp.)

The camel of trees
As you emerge from mountainous forests into eastern Oregon, you’ll find extensive, open juniper woodlands. Due to overgrazing, these woodlands have become even more prominent, which poses a problem. The juniper tree can survive in arid climates because of its ability to draw and store water. Where there is moisture, the juniper draws as much water as it can and just continues to grow, up to 50 feet tall. Its monopolization of water in regions where water is typically scarce is cause for concern.

Range
There are three junipers that are native to the Pacific Northwest, but the one you’ll likely encounter is the western juniper, which is prominent throughout the drier parts of the state, particularly central Oregon.

Character
This smaller evergreen has thin, shreddy bark and tiny scale-like needles.  The juniper berry is actually a cone, with soft scales that rarely open. Despite their short stature, western junipers commonly live for hundreds of years.

Understory
The understory of the western juniper is characteristic of the arid climate in which it thrives. This, in addition to its propensity to grow in thick, dense groves, means very little plant life can survive in its understory.

Climate
The western juniper can survive in conditions and climates very few tree species can tolerate. It can survive perceived drought and is the dominate, if the only, tree species in areas where the rainfall is less than 12 inches a year, but can easily survive on much less.

Management
The wood of the juniper is used mainly for fuel and fence posts, so it is generally not grown for commercial use, although its berries are a spice used in a wide variety of culinary dishes and best known for the primary flavoring in gin (and responsible for gin's name, which is a shortening of the Dutch word for juniper, genever). Forest management is generally linked to limiting its growth in water-starved area where overgrazing creates conditions where only the juniper can grow and thrive.

Knobcone Pine
(Pinus attenuata)

Born of fire
Unlike other closed-cone species whose cones open with hot weather, the knobcone pine must have fire for reproduction. Cones are sealed with a hard resin that requires high temperatures in excess of 350°F to open. An unburned knobcone pine cone will remain closed even after its host tree has decayed and fallen; it can stay viable for up to 50 years. 

Range
The knobcone pine can be found on dry, rocky slopes and ridges of the coastal mountain ranges of southern Oregon to Baja California. It usually grows at altitudes of 2,600 to 4,500 feet and in fire-prone environments.

Character
Knobcone pines are tough trees, often growing in the poorest soils, so mature trees vary greatly in size from 25 to 75 feet tall depending on soils and other conditions.  The cones are what make knobcones stand out - cones range from 3 to 5 inches long with a prominent knob on each scale. The bark is smooth, flaky and gray-brown when young, becoming dark gray-red-brown and shallowly furrowed into flat scaly ridges. The needles grow in bundles of three and are 3 to 7 inches long.

Understory
Its understory is typically herbaceous species and usually fire-followers. Along its range you’ll find a diverse understory of grasses, shrubs and cacti.  

Climate
The knobcone pine grows best in climates characterized by wet, mild winters and hot, dry summers.

Management
Knobcone pine is used primarily for firewood. It is a small, shrubby tree that often has multiple tops, not making it desirable for many commercial products. Without fire present, most knobcone pine forests will eventually be replaced by tree species that are more tolerant of shade.

Lodgepole Pine
(Pinus contorta)

Slim, straight and fire-friendly
Lodgepole pine is one of the tree species that may need fire to open itscones to release seeds. Fire also leaves cleared beds of ash where new trees can sprout and grow. In fact, without thinning, lodgepole stands can turn into thickets that soon stagnate growth, which can greatly increase the chance of catastrophic fire and epidemic insect infestation.

We have Lewis and Clark to thank for the lodgepole pine’s name. They noted that many native American tribes would travel to the Rocky Mountains to secure “lodgepoles” for teepees and lodges. The lodgepole grows slim and straight, and even today it is preferred for log homes, utility poles and posts. Its pine fiber is excellent for making paper and composite products as well.

Range
Pure and nearly-pure stands of lodgepole pine are found throughout central and eastern Oregon. Lodgepole pine is a pioneer species that rapidly colonizes disturbed sites and often gives way to more shade-tolerant species like ponderosa pine and grand fir. Most lodgepole pine stands develop after fire or logging. They may form climax forests on sites with deep pumice and volcanic ash.

Understory
Lodgepole pine forests grow in dense stands with lots of dead trees. They are very susceptible to insect attacks, especially mountain pine beetles, and are frequently threatened by fire. 

Climate
The lodgepole pine is an adaptable species that often flourishes where other trees cannot. Lodgepole forests are found in climates with short, dry summers and snowy winters. They commonly occur in frost pockets and on both excessively wet and dry soils.

Management

Stands near the Oregon coast (called shore pine) are not commercially viable, but they are no less important to our economy as they add to the beauty of Oregon’s picturesque coast. The mountain form of the lodgepole, on the other hand, occupies vast areas and is an important timber tree. These forests are typically harvested via clearcutting, shelterwood and seed tree methods that produce even-aged stands.

Noble Fir
(Abies procera)

Oregon’s most popular 
Known for its beauty and scent, noble fir is the most popular Christmas tree grown in Oregon. It is also used for paper and is a fine timber species as it is quite strong for its weight. Those not grown for use at Christmas can grow to well over 200 feet tall and up to 6 feet in diameter.

Range
Noble fir is common in middle to upper elevations for the entire length of the Cascades and at higher elevations in the Siskiyous and Coast Range.

Character
The noble fir has unique cones, making it easy to identify. Like all true firs, cones sit on top of branches rather than hang down. They’re four to six inches long, barrel-shaped and have little “flips” or “whiskers.” Needles run parallel with the twig for 1/8 inch and then curve away, shaped like a hockey stick. The bark appears blistered on young trees and purplish-gray to reddish-brown on mature trees with flattened ridges.

Understory
Herbaceous plants, huckleberry, currants, rhododendrons and grasses are dominant in the understory of noble firs.

Climate
The noble fir is a tree that loves altitude. It typically is found between 1,000 and 5,000 feet, only rarely reaching the tree line.

Management
If left to grow for timber, noble fir only becomes timber-sized on moist, well-drained sites above about 1,000 feet in elevation. At lower elevations, it tends to suffer from root rot and other ailments, which shorten its life and deform it.

Oregon Ash
(Fraxinus latifolia)

Preferred by sportsmen everywhere
Ash is the traditional choice for making baseball bats, oars, skis and other sporting goods. The wood is also prized for flooring, cabinetry and other high-value wood products, but there is not a well-developed local ash industry in Oregon.

Range
A native tree, the Oregon ash is found throughout the Pacific Northwest's interior valleys, along streams and in wet sites. In fact, its tolerance to standing water allows this tree to grow on the most poorly drained valley soils, where no other tree species will grow. 

Character
A small to medium, shade-tolerant broadleaf tree up to 100 feet tall. The Oregon ash has unique leaves, which are elliptical in shape and have five to nine leaflets per compound leaf. Fruit is single-seeded bracts known as samaras that resemble little canoes.

Understory
As a smaller, tree, Oregon ash is often an understory tree species itself. Its understory consists of shade- and moisture-tolerant shrubs and ferns.

Climate
Prefers damp soil and a cool and moist climate with some sun.

Management
Oregon ash is not generally managed for timber production, but it shows great potential due to its moderate growth, straight trunk and excellent wood characteristics. The emerald ash borer has decimated ash stands in the Midwest and is a potential threat to Oregon ash.

Oregon White Oak
(Quercus garryana)

Enjoy some wine and a cozy fire
Next time you enjoy a glass of wine by a cozy fire, take a moment to thank the Oregon white oak. Its wood is prized for wine barrels, and it is also considered one of the best fuels for home heating. Oregon white oak is also a good host for the truffle (Tuber melanosporum), and many European countries now manage stands of white oak just for this purpose.

But the Oregon white oak’s greatest contribution may be its use as a home by more than 200 species of native wildlife in the region. Many birds and mammals use white oak tree cavities for nesting, roosting or den sites.

Trees in riparian areas can also reduce water temperatures and improve stream conditions for fish. Plus, the Oregon white oak’s acorn production, also known as mast, represents an important food source during fall and winter when other forages are becoming scarce.

Range
Oregon white oak can grow on a wide variety of sites, from valley floors to foothills, and in wet or dry conditions. However, on good sites it is often crowded out by species that grow faster and taller. Hence, Oregon white oak is most common on sites that are too exposed or droughty for other tree species.

Character
This slow-growing, medium broadleaf tree can reach heights of up to 80 feet. Although capable of growing for hundreds of years, when it competes with Douglas-fir, the species needs disturbance from fire or grazing to remain competitive.

Understory
The understory of Oregon white oak woodlands tends to be dominated by shade-tolerant trees, shrubs and bushes. The fallen leaf mass of the white oak provides a rich layer of fertile soil.

Climate
Oregon white oak grows in diverse climates, ranging from the cool, humid conditions near the coast to the hot, dry environments in inland valleys and foothill woodlands.

Management
A combination of slow growth, shade intolerance, limited market value and the encroachment of coniferous forests into valley woodlands has heightened the importance of Oregon white oak savannas and woodland management. Prescribed burning is an important tool to remove competitors.

Pacific Dogwood
(Cornus nutallii)

A basket of flowers
Pacific dogwood is best know for its beautiful white flowers. The showy white bracts in bloom are spectacular, and many wonder who planted these trees out in the wild. For generations, young shoots have been used for basket weaving, and the wood of its eastern cousin is used for making piano keys, arrows and golf club heads. Native Americans used the wood of the dogwood as a blood purifier and to help with stomach problems.

Range
It is often an understory tree found on moist, well-drained soils throughout western Oregon.

Character
A shade-tolerant large shrub or small deciduous tree, growing to 30 feet. Orange or red berries replace the dogwood flowers, providing food for birds and other animals during fall and winter. The leaves are oval in shape with veins that follow the curve of the leaf and turn a brilliant red in fall.

Understory
The bright orange to red “berries” are popular with various birds in the fall and winter. Deer and elk eat young dogwood sprouts.

Climate
The Pacific dogwood prefers full sun to part shade and moist, well-drained soil.

Management
This tree prefers areas that are shady and moist. If managed as an ornamental, the soil must be nutrient-rich or the tree may not be able to flower.

Pacific Madrone
(Arbutus menziesii)

The broadleaf imitator
The Pacific madrone is a gorgeous, unique tree. It is an evergreen with broadleaf, leathery, thick leaves that last throughout the winter. The wood is hard and valuable for woodworking, but tends to warp and check as it dries. Native Americans used the berries for chewing and cider.

Range
It is found widely across the western Willamette Valley and in southern Oregon, on well-drained, sunny sites. It is native to the West Coast and occurs from the coast ranges of British Columbia down to California.

Character
An evergreen broadleaf tree up to 100 feet tall. The bark has a distinctive reddish-brown color and peels in the fall, exposing green flesh underneath. Flowers are showy clusters of pink and white. The reddish-orange fruit is pea-size with a pebbly texture.

Understory
The red orange berries are popular in the fall with quail, robins, bears and raccoons. Bees like the flower clusters in spring.

Climate
Pacific madrone loves humid coastal sites, as well as foothill areas with dry summers and mild winters.

Management
In coniferous timber areas, Pacific madrone is considered “weedy” and is usually controlled. Madrone is a vigorous stump sprouter and often forms multiple stem sprout clumps after a tree is cut. The clumps need to be thinned to the one good stem if madrone sawlogs are the goal.

Pacific Silver Fir
(Abies amabilis)

Choice of urban landscapers
The Pacific silver fir is popular among landscapers because its silver leaves and bark and deep purple cones provide a regal combination. It also makes it a sought-after Christmas tree. Its soft, lightweight wood is weak and has low durability, so it has limited use commercially.

Range
Native to the Pacific Northwest, Pacific silver fir ranges from southern Alaska to northern California. Well-developed stands are primarily found at elevations from 1,000 to 7,000 feet on the coastal slopes of the Cascades.

Character
A Mature Pacific silver firs typically reaches 100 to 230 feet in height and up to 45 inches in diameter. It has cylindrical cones, 3.5 to 6 inches long, occupying the tips of the uppermost branches. Most of the needle-like leaves are 0.5 to 1.3 inches long, are are bright green and somewhat flattened, and have notched tips.

Understory
The understory of the Pacific silver fir will vary depending on moisture availability. Understory shrubs include the Vine mapleSalal, Cascade Oregon grapeBlueberry and Mountain Huckleberry. The dense growth of Pacific silver fir provides cover and protection during the winter for wildlife.

Climate
Pacific silver fir occurs most often in areas with high precipitation and moist soils, like the mid-slope of the western Cascades. It thrives in maritime climates with high annual precipitation and average summer temperatures around 59°F.

Management
Pacific silver fir is dependent on adequate soil moisture during the growing season. It is most abundant on sites where summer drought is minimal, such as areas of heavy rainfall, seepage or prolonged snowmelt.

Pacific Yew
(Taxus brevifolia)

A medical marvel
The Pacific yew can be readily recognized from its lookalike, the western hemlock, by its more orderly needle arrangement, but it’s the bark of the Pacific yew that is truly amazing. In the 1960s a chemical in the bark called taxol was found to inhibit breast and ovarian cancers. Today the medicine is synthesized from English yew foliage, so Pacific yews are not peeled or harvested for taxol.

Range
Pacific yew is widely distributed in the Pacific Northwest, yet seldom found in large concentrations. It's usually found in moist, shady areas and as an understory tree in older forests.

Character
Considered a small to medium-size evergreen tree, the Pacific yew is extremely slow-growing and often rots from the inside, creating hollow forms. The brown bark is thin and scaly. The leaves are flat and dark green and arranged in a spiral on the stem. The fruit is a bright red “berry” or aril, which is highly poisonous to humans, especially small children, if eaten.

Understory
Pacific Yew is often an understory itself. Seldom growing more than 40 feet tall, this tree looks more like a very large shrub.  

Climate
Pacific yew prefers the cool, moist climate of the Pacific Northwest.

Management
Pacific yew is slow-growing and is most abundant in older forests where disturbance such as logging or fire has not happened in recent years. Pacific yew is one of the few conifers that can sprout from its base if the top is killed or damaged.

Paper Birch
(Betula papyrifera)

Year-round beauty
Considered by many to be one of the most attractive native forest trees in North America, the paper birch can be an eye-catching ornamental tree often associated with the unspoiled wilderness. A popular landscape tree, its fall color and white bark in winter make an unbeatable combination. 

Range
Paper birch is a transcontinental species and grows in a wide variety of conditions, from full sun to moderate shade, and from dry soils to moist

Character
Paper birch grows to about 40 feet in height, but in ideal conditions it can reach 75 feet or more. The bark peels back readily, revealing a reddish-orange inner bark. Its deciduous egg-shaped leaves are dark green and lightly toothed, becoming golden in the fall.

Understory
You’ll often find conifer seedlings and saplings under mature paper birch stands, along with shrubs including American green alder, beaked hazel, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries.

Climate
The paper birch tree grows best in a cool, moist site and is a fast-growing tree, but generally short-lived, rarely living beyond 80 years.

Management
Commercially its lumber is used for veneer, pulpwood and many specialty items. Paper birch develops best on well-drained sites and will not tolerant harsh conditions, heat or waterlogging, and is susceptible to insects and diseases in warmer climates. 

Ponderosa Pine
(Pinus ponderosa)

Both beauty and versatility
Ponderosa pines are the second most common tree in Oregon and are dominant in the eastern part of the state. They are easily identifiable by long needles that grow in bundles of three. The wood from a ponderosa pine is quite versatile and can be used from construction to millwork. Trees can live over 700 years. The beauty and colors of old ponderosa pine attract moviemakers and recreationalists alike.

Range
Ponderosa pine occurs in pure stands or may be mixed with lodgepole pine, grand fir, Douglas-fir, western larch, western white pine, incense-cedar, white fir and quaking aspen. Ponderosa pine forests are widely distributed in eastern Oregon, ranging in elevation from 2,500 to 6,000 feet. Ponderosa pine found in the Willamette valley is actually genetically very different than eastern Oregon ponderosa. The historic range of Willamette valley ponderosa pine has been reduced significantly by agriculture and development, but it is also capable of growing on the full range of Valley soils below 1,000 feet elevation. Ponderosa pine grows well with Douglas-fir but also where Douglas-fir can’t: extremely wet soil like that of the Willamette Valley.

Character
Ponderosa pine can reach up to 200 feet in height. The trunks of saplings tend to be black, while those of mature trees are almost always pumpkin orange with visually pleasing splits in the bark.

Understory
The understory consists of grasses and shrubs such as green-leaf manzanita, buckbrush, bitterbrush and snowberry.

Climate
Ponderosa pine forests are the second driest forests in Oregon; they thrive in climates with short, dry summers and cold, snowy winters. The range of these forests is closely tied to soil moisture.

Management
Fire has shaped these forests. Historically, frequent ground fires, both human-caused and natural, maintained open, park-like conditions. Fire suppression during the past 100 years has left many stands overcrowded with more shade-tolerant trees. These forests are now very susceptible to insects and fire. They can be returned to more natural and healthy conditions with a combination of thinning and fire. Removing the entire overstory can lead to extreme soil temperatures and poor regeneration, making it difficult for ponderosa pine to regenerate naturally. As a result, uneven-aged forestry is often practiced, typically with group selection as the harvest technique.

Port-Orford-Cedar
(Chamaecyparis lawsoniana)

Sculptured tree or lumber
Highly valued as an ornamental tree, it is often used for bonsai and hedges. It is also an important timber tree and is used to make Venetian blinds, sashes, doors and interior finish millwork because of its light, strong, fine-grained wood.

Range
The Coast range of Oregon's Coos and Curry counties host the largest stands of Port-Orford-Cedar. Its native range is limited to southwest Oregon and northwest California. You’ll also find the Port-Orford-Cedar in the margins of wetlands and riparian zones.

Character
It is not unusual to find charcoal on the bark of older trees indicating that they survived many fires. Mature trees frequently grow to diameters of 50 to 70 inches and heights of 200 feet, and live 500 or more years. The foliage is characterized by flattened, fernlike sprays and small, rounded cones.

Understory
On upland sites, the most common understory shrub is the huckleberry oak. On wetter sites, along streams and lakes, you’ll often find western azalea within Port-Orford-Cedar communities.

Climate
It prefers a Mediterranean climate where winters are cool and wet, summers are warm and dry and precipitation is moderate to high, usually 39 to 89 inches annually.

Management
In the mid-1950s the root disease Phytophthora lateralis affected many native stands. The mortality of trees has been high in areas infected for ten years or more. The disease has put the survival of this Oregon treasure at risk. Good management and stewardship are required to ensure its survival.

Quaking Aspen
(Populus tremuloides)

The trembling tree
Also known as trembling aspen, it derives its name from the quaking of its leaves due to thelong and flattened petioles that connect its leaves to its branches. Even the slightest breeze will cause the leaves to flutter. This gives the overall appearance that it is quaking or trembling, hence the scientific name – tremuloides.

Range
The only absolute requirement for quaking aspen is lots of sunlight. Consequently its range extends from New England through Canada, into Alaska, and south into California and Arizona, anywhere there is moist soil in openings or along edges of pine and spruce forests. This tree occurs in more states than any other tree.

Character
Quaking aspens can be identified by their smooth, white bark marked by black scars where lower branches have been “self-pruned." Its leaves are somewhat heart-shaped, from 1 to 3 inches long, with finely saw-toothed margins and white undersides.  

Understory
Quaking aspens grow in large and dense colonies throughout North America, so its understory can only support shade-tolerant shrubs and plants. Its leaves serve as food for caterpillars of various moth and butterfly species.

Climate
The quaking aspen is an adaptive species and can endure lows of -78°F and highs of 110°F. It prefers moist soil, but can grow near intermittent springs in desert environments that receive less then 7 inches of annual precipitation.

Management
It propagates itself primarily through root sprouts, and extensive colonies are common. Each colony is its own clone, where all trees have identical characteristics and share a single root structure. Pollination is inhibited by the fact that aspens are either male or female, and large stands are usually all clones of the same sex. Used mainly for pulp products such as books, newsprint and fine printing paper, aspen is especially good for panel products such as strand or wafer board. 

Red Alder
(Alnus rubra)

Radiant and colorful
Broadly acclaimed for a variety of high-value wood products, alder also fixes nitrogen from the atmosphere and is an excellent recycler of nutrients. Native Americans used the bark to treat many problems from insect bites to lymphatic disorders. They also used the bark to dye fishing nets to make them less visible underwater.

Range
Red alder is common along stream courses in the Coast Range and Cascades below 2,000 feet elevation. On moist sites it will grow across the landscape. It is an important riparian species for habitat.

Character
This fast-growing, pioneer species is a medium broadleaf tree up to 120 feet tall. It has a short life span but is well suited to the dynamic environment near streams. The bark is mottled, ashy-gray and smooth, often covered with moss. Leaves are broadleaf ovals that turn yellow in the fall. Male flowers, known as catkins, produce pollen in the early spring. Female flowers, or strobiles, develop into reddish dangling cone-like dry fruit in autumn.

Understory
Often shade-tolerant conifers such as western hemlock and Sitka spruce are found scattered under the canopy of the alder. Salmonberry is one of the most common shrubs associated with an alder forest. Elderberry and blackberry are also found, making it an ideal place for many mammals and birds.

Climate
The red alder loves the climate of the West Coast and are found west of the Cascades where it is moist, humid and temperate.

Management
It is recommended that the alder is harvested rather than left to die out naturally, as Douglas-fir, western red cedar and more red alder can be planted in harvested areas, allowing for regrowth over the following decades. Many alder stands that are left undisturbed will convert to salmonberry brush fields as the alder dies.

Sitka Spruce
(Picea sitchensis)

A truly renaissance tree
Beautiful stands of Sitka spruce frame our coastline, adding to its beauty and mystique. Its wood is very strong for its weight, which has led to its many specialty uses in aircraft frames, racing shells, ladders and folding bleachers. It’s not surprising that its lumber is also valued for construction requiring lightweight strength. The wood of the Sitka spruce possesses outstanding resonant qualities, and it is used in pianos, organs, guitars and violins. Its long fibers also make it second only to the western hemlock as a papermaking wood. When it comes to trees, the Sitka spruce is your classic overachiever.

Range
You’ll find the Sitka spruce in moist, well-drained sites along the coast, seldom more than 20 miles inland. In fact, its needles and bark are resistant to salt spray.

Character
The largest of the spruces, the Sitka can grow 125-180 feet tall and 3-5 feet in diameter, with an open crown of somewhat pendulous branches. Its cones are very distinctive. One to 4 inches in length, rounded and irregularly toothed, they hang downward with very thin scales. Its bark is gray and smooth on small trunks, turning to a dark purplish-brown on older trunks.

Understory
The Sitka spruce is one of the hardiest trees, and it can grow in poor soils and on exposed sites where few other trees can grow successfully. Its understory usually consists of thick, shade-loving ferns, trees and shrubs, making it the ideal habitat for a large variety of mammals, reptiles, amphibians and birds.

Climate
The Sitka spruce prefers the cool, foggy environment of a maritime climate with abundant moisture throughout the year, relatively mild winters and cool summers. The Sitka spruce weevil attack the terminal leaders of Sitka spruce when it is grown away from the foggy coastal environment. This damage kills the tops of the growing young trees and causes them to be formed like bushes.

Management
Natural regenerating stands will self-thin over time, but respacing and thinning help with density and yield. Clearcutting followed by planting is the most common timber management practice for this fast-growing species.

Subalpine Fir
(Abies lasiocarpa)

Rehabilitation and conservation
Subalpine fir is a forest pioneer on severe and disturbed sites. By providing cover, it assists in rehabilitating the landscape and protecting watersheds. Subalpine fir grows in forests that occupy the highest water-yield areas in much of the western United States, and are therefore highly significant in water management and conservation.

Range
Subalpine fir is a middle- to upper-elevation mountain conifer. It generally occupies sites with a short growing season caused by cold winters, cool summers, frequent summer frosts and heavy snowpack.

Character
Subalpine fir has a very distinctive crown that is slender and spire-like. The upper several feet of the crown may have a diameter of less than 1 foot. The branches of this tree persist on the trunk right to the ground. This tree seldom exceeds 90 feet in height and 2 feet in diameter at maturity.

Understory
Subalpine-fir-dominated stands generally do provide cover for large and small wildlife species. Its seeds are eaten by several species of small mammals and birds.



Climate
Subalpine fir grows in the coolest and wettest forests. Temperatures range from below -50°F in the winter to more than 90°F in the summer. Although widely distributed, subalpine fir grows within a narrow range of mean temperatures.

Management
Tree growth and stand development are best on the deeper soils associated with glacial deposits or Pleistocene lake beds. On steep slopes where soils are shallowest, stands are open and tree growth poor. On moderate to gentle slopes and flat ground where water does not collect, stands are closed with no understory or herbaceous vegetation.

The tree's populations have been affected most by the balsam woolly aphid, which defoliates and kills subalpine firs. The insect puts a sucking tube into the bark to obtain food and at the same time injects a toxin that kills trees under heavy attack.

Sugar Pine
(Pinus lambertiana)

Largest of all pines
The sugar pine is the one of the largest trees, in both height and diameter, in old-growth stands. It provides clear wood in large dimensions and is easy to cut in any direction. This high dimensional stability puts it in demand for structural applications requiring minimal shrinkage, swelling, twisting and warping. It will take and hold paint better than most species. This quality makes the sugar pine ideal for millwork such as doors, sashes, trim, siding and panels. Other special uses include piano keys and organ pipes, which demand wood of especially straight, even grain.

Range
The native range of sugar pine is distributed almost continuously throughout the Klamath and Siskiyou mountains of northern California and southern Oregon, and on the western slopes of the Cascade Range where annual rainfall is 40 inches or more.

Character
The most impressive character of the mature sugar pine is its massive dimensions and huge asymmetrical limbs hung with long, cylindrical cones at their tips. Prized for their ornamental beauty, the cones of sugar pine are among the largest of any conifer, sometimes reaching up to 26 inches. Its seeds are eagerly sought by small rodents and birds, which aid in their dispersal.

Needles are in clusters of five and usually 2-4 inches long with white coloring on all three surfaces of each needle.

Understory
Associated species include mixed conifers like Douglas-fir, white fir and ponderosa pine. The woody understory is often cleared naturally by fire every 20-30 years. 

Climate
The typical elevation range of the sugar pine is from 1,100 to 5,400 feet in the Cascade Range. Temperature and precipitation vary widely throughout the range of sugar pine, as it can thrive equally well in warm, dry summers and cool, wet winters.

Management
The sugar pine grows in a wide variety of soils derived from rocks of volcanic, granitic and sedimentary origin, but grows best in well-drained loams and sandy loams. Early growth of sugar pine is slow compared with that of ponderosa pine, but growth rates accelerate with age and are sustained for longer periods of time than those of associated species.

Vine Maple
(Acer circinatum)

Range
Vine maple is widely distributed across the Willamette Valley and on moist sites in the shade of Douglas-fir or western hemlock. It grows at up to 5,000 feet in elevation. It is native to western North America and is found within 250 miles of the Pacific coast where soil is moist and the air is humid.

Character
Vine maple looks like a shrub or small deciduous tree, growing to 20 feet with multiple stems. Flowers feature reddish calyx and five short greenish-yellow petals. Propeller-shaped seeds are called samaras and are what children of all ages often use to play “helicopters.”

Understory
The foliage is eaten by deer and elk, and the seeds are used by a wide variety of birds and small mammals.

Climate
It prefers damp cool weather with occasional sunlight. It has a good shade tolerance as an understory tree but can also tolerate full sun as long as the ground is moist. It can take temperatures down to -20°F but fries in hot, dry weather.

Management
Vine maple wood has no commercial value but can be used for tool handles and firewood. It can also be used to enhance aesthetics, especially along well-traveled roads. It is prized for red fall foliage.

Western Larch
(Latrix occidentalis)

One of the world’s few deciduous conifers
The western larch is one of the only coniferous trees to lose all its needles every year after they turn yellow, usually a trait only found in broadleaf trees. It is actually classified as one of the world’s few deciduous conifers. The western larch is usually one of the first trees to return following a forest fire, because they thrive in the openings created by wildfires. This tree can live well over 500 years – with some found over 800 years old!

Range
Western larch is usually found growing with other coniferous trees including Douglas-fir, grand fir and ponderosa pine on moist, mountainous slopes near streams throughout British Columbia down through northern central and northeastern Oregon. It prefers to grow at an altitude of 2,000 to 7,000 feet.

Character
It can grow up to 180 feet tall and features a conical crown. It grows very straight and has sparse needles that grow on the short branches that extend parallel to the ground. Needles are feathery and flat.

Climate
Western larch prefers cool, moist sites and depends on frequent disturbance.

Understory
The understory of the western larch is typically diverse shrub and herbaceous layers.

Management
Because of its intolerance to shade, western larch is managed with even-aged techniques such as clearcutting, shelterwood and seed tree cuttings that encourage soil disturbance and improve chances for natural regeneration. Controlling competing species and creating mineral seedbeds with fire is essential to maintaining western larch in forest stands. Larch is harvested for high-quality lumber that is resistant to decay.

Western Hemlock
(Tsuga heterophylla)

One tasty tree
Hemlock is well known for its gorgeous wood, but it is also a source of different kinds of food. In addition to offering edible candium (the spongy cork interior of the bark), a hemlock forest is a preferred place for chanterelles and other edible fungi to grow. The needles can also be chewed or made into tea for an elixir rich in Vitamin C. In addition to foodstuffs, the bark provides tannin for tanning hides, and boughs were used by natives of Alaska for collecting herring eggs. Western hemlock is not to be confused with the poisonous and unrelated herbaceous hemlocks.

Range
It is commonly found in temperate rain forests and usually lives within 100 miles of the coast. But it is also found in the foothills of the Cascades and Coast Range on moist sites (generally more than 60 inches of annual rainfall). On these sites, this tree would be the dominant climax tree species in old-growth forests until disturbance such as wildfire or windstorm set back the successional clock.

Character
Western hemlock is a large, shade-tolerant conifer up to 200 feet tall and 9 feet in diameter. The brown bark is thin and full of furrows. Most have a great conical crown, and its pendulous branch tips make it easy to distinguish the tree. The hemlock is long-lived, with the oldest known hemlock coming in at 1,200 years.

Understory
Older trees are prone to rot, which makes them excellent sources of cavities for birds. Being shade-tolerant allows western hemlock seedlings and saplings to grow in the understory of  many western Oregon forests.

Climate
The climate of this zone is wet and mild. Frequent and dense summer fog helps limit the evaporative power of the sun, while “fog drip” that condenses on tree crowns adds to soil moisture.

Management
Western hemlock forests are among the most productive in the world. In recent years a disease called Swiss needle cast has caused managers to consider planting western hemlock instead of Douglas-fir on many coastal sites. Douglas-fir plantations in western Oregon are commonly invaded by western hemlock and western redcedar, resulting in mixed stands. Thinning is a key to maintaining the productivity and vigor of these stands. Western hemlock forests have traditionally provided pulp for high-quality paper; they are also managed for specialty wood products and a variety of wildlife.

Western Redcedar
(Thuja plicata)

Making homes beautiful for centuries
Wood from western redcedar is prized for decks, siding and shake roofs because of its rot resistance. Western redcedar is an important conifer along streams where it provides large woody debris for healthy stream structure. It is known as “the cornerstone of Northwest coast Indian culture” because of prominent use of different components of the tree for everything from roofs to baskets – even dresses made from bark!

Range
It loves moist sites along streams and near springs or other wet areas, and it tends to be more prominent in the foothills of the Cascades and Coast Range where rainfall is heavier than on the valley floor.

Character
Western redcedar is a medium to large, long-lived, shade-tolerant conifer up to 150 feet tall. Its bark is gray to reddish-brown, and the leaves are scaly, sharp and glossy green. Its droopy branches that flip up at the end are unique to the western redcedar.

Climate
It likes moist ground and cool temperatures and doesn’t need much sun. However, best growth happens in full sun.

Understory
The leaves are a major food supply for many big game such as deer and elk.

Management
In mixed-species and uneven-aged stands, western redcedars tolerate shady understory conditions and can maintain slow but acceptable growth rates over long periods. In clearcuts and other disturbed areas, seedlings account for most of the western redcedar regeneration, but seedlings in mature stands may be less abundant than individuals produced by vegetative reproduction from layering, rooting of fallen branches, and branch development on fallen trees.

Western White Pine
(Pinus monticola)

Strong and straight
The western white pine is prized as a commercial species because of a long straight trunk that runs free of branches for up to two-thirds of its length. Its wood is easily worked and is ideally suited for window and door frames, paneling, shelving and other structural applications.

Range
Its range extends south from British Columbia and from western Montana to northeastern Oregon, with a preference for deep, porous soils and gentle slopes.

Character
The western white pine grows rapidly, attaining heights of 175 feet and trunk diameters from 5 to 8 feet. It is easily identified by its stalked cones, which are slender, curved and grow from 5 to 15 inches long. Needles are 2 to 4 inches long and grow in clusters of five. White lines are on two sides of each needle. The bark of mature trees is brownish-gray, and is broken into small rectangular blocks.

Understory
On warmer sites you’ll find an understory of huckleberry oak, red huckleberry, pygmy Oregon grape, and box-leaved silk-tassel.  On cooler sites, manzanita and western serviceberry occur frequently, with beargrass common to all sites.

Climate
The western white pine can occur in a variety of climates ranging from warm and wet to cool and dry. Average annual temperature ranges from 38˚F to 49˚ F and annual precipitation ranges from 45 to 130 inches.

Management
A disease called blister rust, a fungus that was imported in 1910 on French white pine ornamental shrubs, decimated the white pine. Over the years, forest geneticists wereable to develop a strain of western white pine that is resistant to blister rust. Today, reforestation efforts are underway but hampered by the presence of firs and other trees that took over the western white pine's range when this species died back.

White Alder
(Alnus rhombifolia)

Can't get enough sun and water
The white alder is similar to the red alder, but is not commonly managed for timber production. The Plateau Indians used it instead for female health issues. Like other alders, it is a great fixer of atmospheric nitrogen.

Range
White alder isfound at wet sites along rivers and streams near the valley floor. It is an important riparian tree and prefers sites with moving water.

Character
White alder is a medium, broadleaf tree up to 120 feet tall. It is a short-lived species that is intolerant of shade and drought.

Understory
The white alder is very competitive and its shade is dense; consequently there is often has a very limited understory consisting mostly of willows, wild rose, blackberry and poison oak.

Climate
The white alder prefers temperate conditions and moist soil.

Management
White alder will grow easily in full sun or partial shade in any moist soil. Perhaps the perfect Oregon tree, it is extremely moisture-tolerant; in fact, there have been cases of white alder growing in creek beds with the water flowing around it.

White Fir
(Abies concolor)

Range
White fir has one of the largest ranges of any of the commercial western firs, from the Rocky Mountains in Colorado to the Oregon Coast Range. White fir occurs from 6,000 to 11,000 feet in elevation in the Rocky Mountains to as low as 2,300 feet near the Pacific Coast.

Character
The white fir is a large forest tree typically 60 to 200 feet in height, and can live up to 300 years or more. Its leaves or needles are 2 to 3 inches long, silvery-blue to silvery-green. Its upright cones are 2 to 5 inches long, oblong, olive-green to purple.

Understory
Because its branches often extend to the ground, the white fir has an understory characterized by shade-tolerant shrubs and grasses. Its seed is eaten by squirrels and other rodents, and seedlings are often browsed extensively by deer. White fir makes good winter roosting trees for grouse.

Climate
White fir is found in areas characterized by a moderately humid climate with long winters with heavy snowfall. It does best in areas where precipitation is 35 to 75 inches annually.

Management
White fir grows in soils from a wide variety of materials and is very adaptable in full sun or partial shade. As a result it can withstand climatic extremes and city stress better than other firs.

White fir is often attacked by a variety of insects and diseases. Logging of white fir has to be timed appropriately. Its wood rots easily and is susceptible to frost cracking, resulting in a loss of value.

Willow
(Salix spp.)

A shady spot down by the riverside
Although the willow is a riparian-loving tree and is often found on the edge of streams and other water sources, it can also thrive in other locations. The willow was one of the first species used by Native Americans for making baskets and snares. The sap of the willow is rich with salicylic acid, an active component of aspirin, and has been used for pain relief for 2,000 years.

Range
Willow is typically found in riparian areas as shrubs, but can also be found on uplands as trees and shrubs.

Character
It is found as deciduous, sun-loving shrubs or small trees. There are many species of willow, yet all seem to have a shrubby form, generally less than 30 feet tall, with many branches and no distinct top. Willows can interbreed and as a result become difficult to identify.

Understory
All kinds of animals consume the willow twigs, flowers and leaves. Rabbits, mice, beaver and grouse may eat the bark, and deer eat the stems.

Climate
Willows prefer temperate, cool temperatures.

Management
Though it does well in very moist soils, the willow may also be successfully used as a fast-growing ornamental or windscreen in drier, more open areas.