Noble Fir vs Douglas Fir: 5 Key Differences

First Trees are stunning, luxuriant, and brash. With these traits, they set themselves apart as one of the most notable and important components of the US west coast treeline.

Fir trees come in a variety of species, and each one is distinguished from the others by a distinct set of traits. Two of the most prevalent species that are also among the easiest to confuse are the Douglas and Noble firs.

Take a look at these differences between these two varieties of firs if you want to hike in the Mountain West. It could aid in their identification in the wild.

1. Distribution

Knowing precisely where you are in the world can help you distinguish between these two firsts with ease. You’re probably witnessing the coastal Douglas fir if you’re near the coast. This is due to the fact that only inland mountain ranges are home to noble firs.

The Douglas Fir has two main subspecies: the Rocky Mountain Douglas Fir and the Coastal Douglas Fir. The latter is widespread in the western mountain states, but it hardly ever crosses the Noble Fir’s range.

The inland mountain ranges of the west coast, extending from Northern California to Washington, are home to the Noble Fir. It falls short of the Mountain Douglas Fir in terms of eastward range. While there are some similarities between the Coastal Douglas Fir and the Noble Fir, there are also some differences, which are discussed below.

The Pacific Silver Fir, a different species of fir, shares its territory with the Noble Fir, further confusing matters. But it’s simple to distinguish the latter due to its strikingly silver color.

2. Cones

The pine cones of these two tree types can be easily distinguished from one another thanks to their unique appearance.

A douglas fir pinecone has a characteristic “tassle” on each plate, and the cone points downward. Furthermore, these cones are far smaller than those of the Noble Pine, which can grow to a maximum size of four to nine inches. This is a rather big pine cone.

A Noble Fir has a very distinct cone. This cone has no tassles, which makes the Douglas Fir cone so distinctive, and it points vertically from the tree’s branch.

3. Needles

These two trees also have very different needles. Here’s another simple method for differentiating between these two kinds of firs.

Noble Firs have short, taught requirements that range in color from silver to bright blue. The Noble Fir’s massive cones are supported in part by these needles’ rigidity and durability. Furthermore, because the needles are useful for hanging ornaments, it has added to the tree’s appeal as a Christmas tree.

Compared to Noble Firs, Douglas Firs have longer, flatter needles. Additionally, they have a tendency to have a darker green color, whilst the young needle shoots have a distinctly lighter green color.

4. Uses

Throughout history, numerous uses for wood have been made possible by variations in its durability and quality. Furthermore, North American aboriginal tribes have been using their sap and needles for generations.

Because of its exquisite composure, Noble Fir has a long history of use for a variety of specific uses. The creation of specialty paper is one example. Noble Fir is used to make a lot of wooden ladders. As an illustration from history, some of the frames

Conversely, softwood timber has been the main application for Douglas Fir. Trusses and timber frame construction both use it. Additionally, Douglas Fir is used to make a lot of hardwood floors. Douglas fir was widely used for shipbuilding in the previous few centuries to make big wooden boats.

5. Age

There exist notable distinctions in the maximum ages attained by Noble and Douglas Firs. A Douglas fir often reaches a much older age than a typical Noble fir.

Noble Firs typically live to be 200 years old or beyond. On the other hand, Douglas Firs may live for several hundred years; some have been known to reach 400 years old. The highest bound of the lifespans of these two tree species is indicated by these statistics.

While it’s not always possible to determine a tree’s exact age simply by looking at it, you may get a rough idea of its age based on its size and circumference.