The Douglas Fir.
with age, the rugged thick stems give an appearance of permanence and solidity. Discovered and introduced by Scotsmen, it grows well in Scotland, and can claim with justification to be Scots by adoption.
The appearance of the bark varies greatly with age. The young bark is grey-green in colour, with resin blisters. At 40 years or so, the bark is purple-brown; by 80 years, it is deeply fissured, thick and predominantly grey. The bark shown in photograph 3 is of a tree around 150 years old. The bark is resistant to fire, to protect the tree from forest fires in its native habitat.
The buds, shown above, are reddish-brown, and pointed. The needles are flat, soft, and rounded at the tip. They are dark green on top, and light-green with two white bands below. When crushed, the needles give off an agreeable resinous scent.
The tree is monoecious; male and female flowers are found on the same tree. Male flowers grow on the underside of the previous year’s shoots near the tip; female flowers are pink upright tufts, growing near the tips of twigs. Female flowers ripen into cones which hang downwards; from each scale on the cone a three-pointed bract, (see photo below), unique to this tree, protrudes.
The timber is strong and durable, with reddish-brown heartwood. It is used for building and structural work; for flooring and cladding, and for furniture and veneers. The photograph below, taken in a recently built house, shows a drying-room, attractively panelled in Douglas Fir.
William Crawford. 260313