Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii)
Several large trees south of the Academic Instructional Center.
Several of these NW giants preside over the walkway south of the AIC building. Douglas fir should be familiar to everyone in the Pacific Northwest. It is arguably our largest native tree, and until recently was certainly one of our largest cash crops. The framing timbers of your house were likely coastal Douglas fir. There are many examples of Douglas fir on campus.
Douglas firs have shallow root systems and thus are susceptible to toppling by high winds. For that reason they thrive best when huddled together in groves for mutual protection.
Douglas fir was first described in 1792 by Dr. Archibald Menzies from specimens observed in Nootka Sound, Vancouver Island, and "rediscovered" by David Douglas, who sent seeds to England. The largest Douglas fir known to date is the Qweets fir, located in Olympic National Park. It has a diameter near its base of over 14 ft. and measures 202 ft. in height, to its broken top. Trees nearly 400 ft. tall are known. Larger and more beautiful specimens of Pseudotsuga menzesii are to be found elsewhere on campus; the nearby Rock Rings knoll has several.