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Douglas-fir is the name of an entire genus of trees that contains six species. Two of these are native to North America and four are native to eastern Asia. Douglas-fir has given botanists fits due to its similarity to other trees. 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 or "False Hemlock". The hyphen in the common name indicates that Douglas-fir is not a "true" fir: it is not a member of the genus Abies.

The best-known species in the genus is Pseudotsuga menziesii. Also known as "Coast Douglas-fir", "Oregon Pine", "Oregon Douglas-fir", "Douglas Tree", or "Interior Douglas-fir", it is the state tree of Oregon. The specific name, menziesii, is after Archibald Menzies[?], a Scottish physician and naturalist who first discovered the tree on Vancouver Island in 1791. The popular name is after David Douglas, the Scottish botanist who later identified the tree in the Pacific Northwest in 1826. Douglas is known for introducing many Canadian native conifers to Europe.

North American species and varieties

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