In the redwood forest

A conifer is a kind of plant that does not produce a flower to make a seed. Instead most conifers produce a cone where the seed is protected. Some types of conifers you may have heard of are pines, firs, spruces, and of course redwoods.


Douglas-firs are medium-size to extremely large evergreen trees, 20–100 meters (70–330 ft) tall. It is thought that coast Douglas-firs were once as tall as redwoods, but those large trees have been cut down. reach such great heights. As the trees grow taller in the redwood forest, they lose their lower branches. In environments with more light they may have branches much closer to the ground.

Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) photo by Michael Kauffmann.

Sitka spruce

Sitka Spruce are common along streams and other wet areas in the redwood forest. They stand out because of their very prickly needles. If you grab a spruce you will know it; you will say “Ouch!” In World War II, British bombers were made of Sitka Spruce. They are named after the town Sitka, Alaska, where they also grow.

Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis) photo by Michael Kauffmann.

Western hemlock

Western Hemlock like the cool, shaded, wet areas of the redwood forest. They are very slow growing in the shade and deer like to eat the small saplings. The wood is used for pulp, poles, and railroad ties. Look carefully for this species.

Western hemlock (Tsuga heterophyla) photo by Michael Kauffmann.

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