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You are here >1Up Info > Wildlife, Animals, and Plants > Plant Species > Tree > SPECIES: Pseudotsuga menziesii var. glauca | Rocky Mountain Douglas-Fir

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SPECIES: Pseudotsuga menziesii var. glauca | Rocky Mountain Douglas-Fir


Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir is native to the inland mountains of the Pacific Northwest and the Rocky Mountains from central British Columbia south to northern and central Mexico [119,138,265]. Its range is fairly continuous from central British Columbia south through eastern Washington and eastern Oregon to central Idaho, western Wyoming, and western Montana; it is restricted to mountain topography in Utah, Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and northern and central Mexico [115]. Populations of Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir are very isolated in Texas, Coahuila, Nuevo Leon, Zacatecas, Durango, Chihuahua, and Sonora [117]. The Flora of North America provides a distributional map of Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir [90].

Coast Douglas-fir occurs naturally in British Columbia (generally west of the Continental Divide [53]), western Washington, western Oregon, California, and western Nevada [138].


FRES20 Douglas-fir
FRES21 Ponderosa pine
FRES22 Western white pine
FRES23 Fir-spruce
FRES24 Hemlock-Sitka spruce
FRES25 Larch
FRES26 Lodgepole pine
FRES29 Sagebrush
FRES34 Chaparral-mountain shrub
FRES35 Pinyon-juniper
FRES36 Mountain grasslands
FRES37 Mountain meadows




5 Columbia Plateau
6 Upper Basin and Range
7 Lower Basin and Range
8 Northern Rocky Mountains
9 Middle Rocky Mountains
10 Wyoming Basin
11 Southern Rocky Mountains
12 Colorado Plateau
13 Rocky Mountain Piedmont
16 Upper Missouri Basin and Broken Lands


K002 Cedar-hemlock-Douglas-fir forest
K011 Western ponderosa forest
K012 Douglas-fir forest
K013 Cedar-hemlock-pine forest
K014 Grand fir-Douglas-fir forest
K015 Western spruce-fir forest
K016 Eastern ponderosa forest
K018 Pine-Douglas-fir forest
K019 Arizona pine forest
K020 Spruce-fir-Douglas-fir forest
K021 Southwestern spruce-fir forest
K022 Great Basin pine forest
K023 Juniper-pinyon woodland
K031 Oak-juniper woodland
K032 Transition between K031 (oak-juniper woodland) and K037 (mountain-mahogany-oak scrub)
K038 Great Basin sagebrush
K055 Sagebrush steppe


205 Mountain hemlock
206 Engelmann spruce-subalpine fir
210 Interior Douglas-fir
211 White fir
212 Western larch
213 Grand fir
215 Western white pine
216 Blue spruce
217 Aspen
218 Lodgepole pine
219 Limber pine
220 Rocky Mountain juniper
222 Black cottonwood-willow
224 Western hemlock
227 Western redcedar-western hemlock
228 Western redcedar
235 Cottonwood-willow
237 Interior ponderosa pine
252 Paper birch


101 Bluebunch wheatgrass
102 Idaho fescue
103 Green fescue
104 Antelope bitterbrush-bluebunch wheatgrass
105 Antelope bitterbrush-Idaho fescue
107 Western juniper/big sagebrush/bluebunch wheatgrass
110 Ponderosa pine-grassland
302 Bluebunch wheatgrass-Sandberg bluegrass
303 Bluebunch wheatgrass-western wheatgrass
304 Idaho fescue-bluebunch wheatgrass
305 Idaho fescue-Richardson needlegrass
306 Idaho fescue-slender wheatgrass
309 Idaho fescue-western wheatgrass
311 Rough fescue-bluebunch wheatgrass
312 Rough fescue-Idaho fescue
313 Tufted hairgrass-sedge
314 Big sagebrush-bluebunch wheatgrass
315 Big sagebrush-Idaho fescue
316 Big sagebrush-rough fescue
317 Bitterbrush-bluebunch wheatgrass
318 Bitterbrush-Idaho fescue
319 Bitterbrush-rough fescue
320 Black sagebrush-bluebunch wheatgrass
321 Black sagebrush-Idaho fescue
322 Curlleaf mountain-mahogany-bluebunch wheatgrass
323 Shrubby cinquefoil-rough fescue
324 Threetip sagebrush-Idaho fescue
401 Basin big sagebrush
402 Mountain big sagebrush
403 Wyoming big sagebrush
404 Threetip sagebrush
405 Black sagebrush
406 Low sagebrush
409 Tall forb
411 Aspen woodland
413 Gambel oak
415 Curlleaf mountain-mahogany
416 True mountain-mahogany
418 Bigtooth maple
419 Bittercherry
420 Snowbrush
421 Chokecherry-serviceberry-rose
422 Riparian
503 Arizona chaparral
504 Juniper-pinyon pine woodland
509 Transition between oak-juniper woodland and mahogany-oak association
612 Sagebrush-grass


Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir/ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) forests cover about 20 million acres (8 million ha) in Montana, Idaho, and Washington; western larch (Larix occidentalis)-Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir stands cover approximately 3.5 million acres in northern Washington, Idaho, and Montana [169]. Plant communities in which Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir are described below by region.

British Columbia: In the Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir/bluebunch wheatgrass (Pseudoroegneria spicata) community types occur on southeast- and west-facing aspects between 1,600 and 3,300 feet (500 and 1,000 m); Pacific ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa var. ponderosa) is usually present and the dominant shrub is Saskatoon serviceberry (Amelanchier alnifolia). Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir/Idaho fescue (Festuca idahoensis) habitats occur between 1,970 and 2,950 feet (600 to 900 m); here Pacific ponderosa pine is usually dominant with Saskatoon serviceberry and bitter cherry (Prunus emarginata) in the understory. Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir/pinegrass (Calamagrostis rubescens) habitats are located approximately between 2,950 and 4,430 feet (900 to 1,350 m); Pacific ponderosa pine, Rocky Mountain lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta var. latifolia), and quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides) are seral species often present throughout stand development. Common understory associates are baldhip rose (Rosa gymnocarpa), white spirea (Spiraea betulifolia), and kinnikinnick (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi) [175]. Douglas-fir (the variety not specified) is reportedly less common in the sub-boreal hybrid spruce-Rocky Mountain lodgepole pine zone in British Columbia than it is in the rest of its range [207].

Alberta: Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir is common in foothills and lower mountain slopes in Alberta as far north as the Bow River (approximately 51° N latitude); north of the Bow River Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir stands occur only sporadically. Open (5-20% canopy cover), fire-maintained stands are common in this elevation zone. The Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir/common juniper (Juniperus communis) community type is very common on warm aspects; kinnikinnick is usually also present. Other less common community types are Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir/russet buffaloberry (Shepherdia canadensis), Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir/white spirea, Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir/prickly rose (Rosa acicularis), and Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir/Rocky Mountain juniper (Juniperus scopulorum). Open-growing Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir, Pacific ponderosa pine stands occur on south or west aspects in Kootenay National Park, with an understory of bluebunch wheatgrass, spreading dogbane (Apocynum androsaemifolium), rubber rabbitbrush (Chrysothamnus nauseosus), and Saskatoon serviceberry. Closed-canopy Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir forests are generally characterized by either ninebark (Physocarpus spp.) or boreal wildrye (Leymus innovatus) dominate the understory.  Other species in these stands are white spirea, Rocky Mountain maple (Acer glabrum), western meadowrue (Thalictrum occidentale), showy aster (Aster conspicuus), Oregon-grape (Mahonia repens), russet buffaloberry, common juniper, Saskatoon serviceberry, prickly rose, Virginia strawberry (Fragaria virginiana), common yarrow (Achillea millefolium), and kinnikinnick [2].

Montana: Pfister and others [205] describe 15 Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir habitat types in Montana.  Bunchgrasses, including Idaho fescue, rough fescue (Festuca altaica), and bluebunch wheatgrass are indicative of the 3 driest Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir types, which often occur in a mosaic with similar Pacific ponderosa pine types. The other 12 Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir habitat types in Montana are indicated by ninebark (Physocarpus malvaceus), big huckleberry (Vaccinium membranaceum), twinflower (Linnaea borealis), common snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus), pinegrass, elk sedge (Carex geyeri), white spirea, kinnikinnick, common juniper, heartleaf arnica (Arnica cordifolia), and mountain snowberry (Symphoricarpos oreophilus) [205]. 

Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir/ninebark, Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir/big huckleberry, subalpine fir (Abies lasiocarpa)/beargrass (Xerophyllum tenax), and subalpine fir/fool's huckleberry (Menziesia ferruginea) habitat types make up "more than half the forested landscape in west-central Montana" [142]. In the Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir/ninebark habitat type, Pacific ponderosa pine, Rocky Mountain lodgepole pine, and western larch are frequently overstory components; the shrub layer is dense and composed of ninebark, oceanspray (Holodiscus discolor), white spirea, and common snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus). Herbaceous species include starry Solomon's-seal (Maianthemum stellatum), western meadowrue, heartleaf arnica, and elk sedge [205]. In the Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir/big huckleberry type the overstory has a similar composition; abundant understory species include those listed for the Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir/ninebark type as well as beargrass, white spirea, and kinnikinnick. Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir is a minor seral species in the subalpine fir/beargrass habitat type; Rocky Mountain lodgepole pine and subalpine fir are climax; Engelmann spruce and whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis) are minor seral species as well [255]. In the subalpine fir/fool's huckleberry habitat type subalpine fir and, to a lesser extent, Engelmann spruce are climax; Rocky Mountain lodgepole pine, Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir, and western larch are long-persisting seral species. Understory species present are alders (Alnus spp.), huckleberries (Vaccinium spp.), and beargrass [205].

In southwestern Montana and Idaho Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir has increased on mountain big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata ssp. vaseyana) communities. These sites are generally classified as the Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir/pinegrass-rough fescue phase [19,20]. 

On the west side of Glacier National Park and in other wet areas of the state, Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir, western larch, western white pine (Pinus monticola), and Rocky Mountain lodgepole pine are seral to western redcedar (Thuja plicata) and western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla) [104]. Important understory species in these western hemlock and western redcedar communities are oak fern (Gymnocarpium dryopteris), wild ginger (Asarum caudatum), fool's huckleberry, queencup beadlily (Clintonia uniflora), drops-of-gold (Disporum hookeri), threeleaf foamflower (Tiarella trifoliata), and violets (Viola spp.) [64]. Fireweed (Epilobium angustifolium), Scouler's willow (Salix scouleriana), thimbleberry (Rubus parviflorus), Saskatoon serviceberry, Rocky Mountain maple, and ceanothus (Ceanothus spp.) are important early seral understory species in these communities [205].

In the Sweetgrass Hills near the Alberta border, Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir grows with hybrid spruce (Picea glauca × P. engelmannii), Rocky Mountain maple, Saskatoon serviceberry, Oregon-grape, prince's pine (Chimaphila umbellata), common juniper, russet buffaloberry, and white spirea; forbs present include twin arnica (Arnica sororia), rock clematis (Clematis columbiana), summer coralroot (Corallorhiza maculata), Virginia strawberry, northern bedstraw (Galium boreale), Richardson's geranium (Geranium richardsonii), Davis' stickseed (Hackelia deflexa), spearleaf stonecrop (Sedum lanceolatum), starry Solomon's-seal, and western meadowrue [254].

Idaho: Between 2,300 and 4,500 feet (700 to 1,400 m) in the northern part of the state Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir habitat types are common, with the understory indicator species including common snowberry, big huckleberry, dwarf huckleberry, white spirea, pinegrass, elk sedge, Idaho fescue, and bluebunch wheatgrass. The more ubiquitous understory associates are Idaho fescue, rough fescue, beargrass, Saskatoon serviceberry, baldhip rose, Oregon-grape, and elk sedge. Common tree associates are Pacific ponderosa pine, western larch, and Rocky Mountain lodgepole pine. Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir is well-represented in subalpine fir climax stands where they occur below approximately 6,000 feet (1,800 m); other trees commonly present include Engelmann spruce, western larch, Rocky Mountain lodgepole pine, western white pine, and grand fir. Understory species in these stands are queencup beadlily, threeleaf foamflower, Idaho goldthread (Coptis occidentalis), western meadowrue, fool's huckleberry, and huckleberries. On moist sites between 1,500 and 6,300 feet (460 to 1,920 m) grand fir is climax, and Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir is seral in most types. Forbs, grasses, and shrubs are a mix of those listed for subalpine fir and Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir climax types [64]. On the Clearwater National Forest, grand fir/Oregon boxwood (Paxistima myrsinites) or grand fir/fool's huckleberry habitat types occur on north slopes and Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir/ninebark on drier aspects [30]. Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir is a major seral species in western hemlock-western redcedar stands with species compositions much like those described above for Montana [64].

In eastern Idaho (and western Wyoming) Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir habitat types listed above are present as well as Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir/Rocky Mountain maple, Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir/mountain ninebark (Physocarpus monogynus), Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir/sweetcicely (Osmorhiza berteroi), and Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir/ heartleaf arnica. The Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir habitat types occur at higher elevations in this part of the state, approximately between 5,400 and 7,500 feet (1,600 to 2,300 m) [246]. These are generally drier than similar types in northern Idaho; limber pine (Pinus flexilis) and quaking aspen are present in some communities [248]. Occasionally Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir is a minor component of whitebark pine stands [246]. Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir, with hybrid spruce and Rocky Mountain lodgepole pine, is present in many subalpine fir types of eastern Idaho (and western Wyoming). Understory species include Utah honeysuckle (Lonicera utahensis), huckleberries, thimbleberry, red baneberry (Actaea rubra), ninebark, woodland strawberry (Fragaria vesca), Oregon boxwood, Saskatoon serviceberry, twinflower, russet buffaloberry, roses (Rosa spp.), and beargrass [246]. 

In central Idaho Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir is particularly widespread, occurring in lower middle elevation sites adjacent to steppe vegetation as well as in open-canopy lower timberline stands with limber pine. Western larch is not as common in this part of the state. Many of the stands are savannah-like. Grand fir-Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir types like those above also occur in this part of the state [248].

Washington: In the Okanogan National Forest of north-central Washington, Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir occurs in open Pacific ponderosa pine/beardless wheatgrass (Pseudoroegneria spicata ssp. inermis) communities; other Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir habitat types are indicated by antelope bitterbrush (Purshia tridentata), kinnikinnick, pinegrass, huckleberries, common snowberry, mountain snowberry, Oregon boxwood, and ninebark. Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir is seral in subalpine fir habitat types with the important understory species including huckleberries, twinflower, Oregon boxwood, pinegrass, and Cascade azalea (Rhododendron albiflorum); it is also present in Engelmann spruce/horsetail (Equisetum spp.) and whitebark pine/pinegrass habitat types. Most Douglas-fir habitat types occur between 2,500 and 4,500 feet (760 to 1,400 m) but in some cases as low as 1,500 feet (460 m) and as high as 6,000 feet (1,800 m) [267]. On the east side of the Cascades in Gifford Pinchot National Forest, Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir, on dry sites, grows in nearly pure stands; shrub species present include vine maple (Acer circinatum), California hazel (Corylus cornuta var. californica), creeping snowberry (Symphoricarpos mollis), Saskatoon serviceberry, and redstem ceanothus (Ceanothus sanguineus). Forbs, grasses and sedges include longpod stitchwort (Minuartia macrocarpa), broadleaf starflower (Trientalis borealis ssp. latifolia), white hawkweed (Hieracium albiflorum), western fescue (Festuca occidentalis), and Columbia brome (Bromus vulgaris). On wetter sites in this area grand fir is almost always climax with Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir a subdominant seral species. Shrubs in these communities are oceanspray, vine maple, creeping snowberry, California hazel, dwarf Oregon-grape (Berberis nervosa), Pacific dogwood (Cornus nuttallii), thimbleberry, or huckleberries; pinegrass and elk sedge are common herbaceous species [256]. 

Wyoming: Adjacent to grasslands in the Yellowstone National Park area, Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir occurs in many-aged (up to 500 years) stands classified as Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir/common snowberry or Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir/pinegrass habitat types [32]. In the Bighorn Mountains Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir grows with subalpine fir with the following understory species: whitestem gooseberry (Ribes inerme var. klamathense), common juniper, mountain snowberry, spike fescue (Leucopoa kingii), bluegrasses (Poa spp.), heartleaf arnica, northern bedstraw, oxford ragwort (Senecio streptanthifolius), starry Solomon's-seal, Oregon-grape, prickly rose, sheep fescue (Festuca ovina), weedy milkvetch (Astragalus miser), silvery lupine (Lupinus argenteus), Pacific anemone (Anemone multifida), arrowleaf balsamroot (Balsamorhiza sagittata), rock clematis (Clematis columbiana var. tenuiloba), fernleaf biscuitroot (Lomatium dissectum), and mountain ninebark. Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir has invaded big sagebrush grasslands in the Bighorn Mountains, much as it has in Idaho and Montana [122]. Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir is sometimes present as a seral component (often minor) in some whitebark pine communities [255].

Colorado: Riparian woodlands in the mountains of western Colorado are dominated by white fir (Abies concolor), Colorado blue spruce (Picea pungens), quaking aspen, ponderosa pine, narrowleaf cottonwood (Populus angustifolia), and Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir [29]. Mixed conifer stands are generally above 8,000 feet in Arizona, New Mexico, and southwestern Colorado [84]. Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir is occasionally present in dry Rocky Mountain juniper communities that are classified as Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir/Ross' sedge (Carex rossii), Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir/elk sedge, Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir/ninebark, or Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir/fivepetal cliffbush (Jamesia americana). Associated species in these communities include common juniper, mountain ninebark, western yarrow (Achillea millefolium var. occidentalis), bluebell bellflower (Campanula rotundifolia), brittle bladder-fern (Cystopterus fragilis), Laguna mountain alumroot (Heuchera bracteata), cutleaf anemone (Pulsatilla ludoviciana), diamondleaf saxifrage (Saxifraga rhombiodea), Oregon boxwood, Woods' rose (Rosa woodsii), mountain snowberry, elk sedge, Dore's needlegrass (Achnatherum nelsonii ssp. dorei), western pearlyeverlasting (Anaphalis margaritacea), flexile milkvetch (Astragalus flexuosus), clematis (Clematis spp.), northern bedstraw, and cliffbush. Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir is an occasional seral component of interior ponderosa pine community types wherein true mountain-mahogany (Cercocarpus montanus), antelope bitterbrush, mountain muhly (Muhlenbergia montana), Ross' sedge, and spike fescue (Festuca kingii) are dominant understory species. Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir is occasionally present in limber pine/common juniper and lodgepole pine/russet buffaloberry habitat types [118]. On the Routt and White River National Forest of northwestern Colorado the Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir/Oregon boxwood habitat type is common and Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir is also in Rocky Mountain lodgepole pine habitat types that have been fire protected. Shrubs in the Rocky Mountain lodgepole pine communities include Rocky Mountain maple, Saskatoon serviceberry, mountain snowberry, and dwarf bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus); herbs present are heartleaf arnica, Engelmann's aster (Aster engelmannii), fireweed, aspen peavine (Lathyrus lanszwertii var. leucanthus), and sweetroot (Osmorhiza spp.) [123,124].

Utah: Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir forms pure, even-aged stands on moist north-facing slopes between 5,000 and 8,000 feet (1,500 to 2,400 m) [130]. More frequently it grows in white fir, quaking aspen, and Engelmann spruce-subalpine fir habitats in Utah [265]. Common understory associates where Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir is a climax in Utah (generally between 7,000 and 9,700 feet (2,190 to 2,960 m)) include junipers (Juniperus spp.), Oregon boxwood, sagebrush (Artemisia spp.), ninebark, curlleaf mountain-mahogany (Cercocarpus ledifolius), greenleaf manzanita (Arctostaphylos patula), mountain-mahogany, Gambel oak (Quercus gambelii), Oregon-grape, and mountain snowberry [171,271]. Between 6,200 and 9,200 feet (1,890 to 2,800 m) white fir gradually becomes dominant, though Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir and interior ponderosa pine are both present on most sites (the sites are too dry for Engelmann spruce or subalpine fir); major understory associates are those listed above as well as common juniper [171,271]. Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir, with quaking aspen, interior ponderosa pine, subalpine fir, white fir, and Engelmann spruce, is a common component of blue spruce climax habitat types that occur between 7,600 and 9,000 feet (2,320 to 2,740 m) [171,271]. Indicator understory species are field horsetail (Equisetum arvense) on moist sites, common juniper and Oregon-grape on drier sites. On dry southwest exposures between 9,000 and 10,200 feet (2,740 and 3,100 m) Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir is sometimes present in open-growing limber pine-Great Basin bristlecone pine (Pinus longaeva) stands; understory vegetation is highly variable and includes the shrubs listed above. Herbaceous species in upper elevation Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir communities include elk sedge, Ross' sedge, mutton grass (Poa fendleriana), Fendler's meadowrue (Thalicturm fendleri), starry Solomon's-seal, fleabane (Erigeron spp.), arrowleaf balsamroot, bottlebrush squirreltail (Elymus elymoides), fringed brome (Bromus ciliatus), common yarrow, and sticky geranium (Geranium viscosissimum) [171,271]. In the Wasatch and Bear Ranges, Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir commonly grows with quaking aspen and Saskatoon serviceberry between 6,000 and 7,580 feet (1,830 and 2,390 m). Quaking aspen and Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir in the Uinta Range occur with common juniper; understory species (in both) include common yarrow, elk sedge, blue wildrye (Elymus glaucus), and slender wheatgrass (Elymus trachycaulus ssp. trachycaulus) [187]. Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir grows along perennial streams in Zion National Park with boxelder (Acer negundo), bigtooth maple (A. grandidentatum), velvet ash (Fraxinus velutina), Fremont cottonwood (Populus fremontii), and Gambel oak [106].

Nevada: In Great Basin National Park Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir occurs with white fir, interior ponderosa pine, willows (Salix spp.), mountain snowberry, and Oregon-grape along streams [243]. 

Arizona and New Mexico: Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir-white fir stands cover a large area in the Huachuca, Rincon, Santa Rita, Santa Catalina, Chiricahua, Graham, Santa Teresa, Winchester, and Galiruo mountains. Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir and Arizona pine (Pinus ponderosa var. arizonica) are present in nearly all white fir habitat types of the area; New Mexico locust (Robinia neomexicana) is sometimes present [10,41]. In the cool and/or moist habitats, blue spruce and Engelmann spruce also occur; in drier, warmer types, limber pine, southwestern white pine (Pinus strobiformis) co-occur [10]. Understory species in the cool/moist habitats include maples (Acer spp.), Saskatoon serviceberry, Arizona walnut (Juglans major), canyon live oak (Quercus chrysolepis), silverleaf oak (Q. hypoleucoides), Gambel oak, common chokecherry (Prunus virginiana), currants (Ribes spp.), fringed brome, prairie Junegrass (Koeleria macrantha), and mutton grass [10,41]. Understory species on warm and/or dry white fir habitat types include kinnikinnick, Gambel oak, mountain snowberry, Arizona fescue (Festuca arizonica), muhly (Muhlenbergia spp.), blackberry (Rubus spp.), and Ross' sedge [10].

Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir and/or white fir are co-climax in all of the blue spruce habitat types of the region; limber pine is present on the warm, dry sites; ponderosa pine, southwestern white pine, and quaking aspen are associates on various sites. Engelmann spruce, subalpine fir, and narrowleaf cottonwood are present on cool/moist sites. On warm, dry sites understory species include kinnikinnick, common juniper, fescues (Festuca spp.), and Oregon boxwood. Understory species on warm moist sites include red-osier dogwood (Cornus sericea), Oregon-grape, Oregon boxwood, dryspike sedge (Carex foenea), northern bedstraw, Richardson's geranium, starry Solomon's-seal, fringed brome, and fescues. On cool moist sites Fendler's meadowrue, fringed brome, muhly, rockspirea (Holodiscus dumosus), Canadian white violet (Viola canadensis), bracken fern (Pteridium aquilinum), and Richardson's geranium are also present [10].

Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir occurs in all subalpine fir habitat types except the subalpine fir/mountain bluebells (Mertensia ciliata) type, which occurs on cool, wet sites. On warm, moist sites Engelmann spruce, white fir and quaking aspen also occur, with Rocky Mountain maple, Oregon-grape, common snowberry, and fringed brome in the understory. On relatively warm, dry sites southwestern white pine is also present; understory species include rockspirea, common juniper, mountain snowberry, Richardson's geranium, and Oregon boxwood. On cool dry sites with southwestern white pine, understory species include fivepetal cliffbush, orange gooseberry (Ribes pinetorum), blue elderberry (Sambucus melanocarpa), sidebells wintergreen (Orthilla secunda), fringed brome, Richardson's geranium, starry Solomon's-seal, dwarf huckleberry, and Rocky Mountain maple [10].

In Engelmann spruce habitat types of the region Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir is a common co-dominant. On relatively cool, moist sites where Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir is present co-occurring species include white fir, quaking aspen, subalpine fir, blue spruce, and occasionally Arizona pine and southwestern white pine. The understory in these communities includes Rocky Mountain maple, fringed brome, Porter's licoriceroot (Ligusticum porteri), and starry Solomon's-seal. On drier Engelmann spruce sites subalpine fir, Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir, and quaking aspen occur with Rocky Mountain maple, fivepetal cliffbush, currants, roses, and huckleberries in the understory [10]. 

In the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of northern New Mexico, Rocky Mountain bristlecone pine (Pinus aristata) is a co-climax with Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir on relatively warm, dry sites; understory species include Arizona fescue, prairie Junegrass, and mountain muhly. In high elevation limber pine/kinnikinnick habitat types Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir is a common component [10].

Arizona pine communities may be nearly pure with Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir as only a minor climax; in these communities kinnikinnick, Gambel oak, Arizona fescue, mountain muhly, Heller's sedge (Carex heliophila), and Ross' sedge are the understory. More commonly, southwestern white pine, Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir, and, to a lesser extent, limber pine are co-dominant with junipers, wavyleaf oak (Q. × pauciloba), gray oak (Q. grisea), Arizona threeawn (Aristida arizonica), bluestem (Andropogon spp.), grama (Bouteloua spp.), pine muhly (M. dubia), longtongue muhly (M. longiligula), screwleaf muhly (M. virescens), mountain muhly, Louisiana sagebrush (Artemisia ludoviciana), Oregon-grape, Arizona fescue, bluegrass, sedges (Carex spp.), Wooton's ragwort (Senecio wootonii), and goldenrod (Solidago spp.) [10].

Texas: In the Guadalupe Mountains of New Mexico and far western Texas, Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir grows with interior ponderosa pine, Colorado pinyon (Pinus edulis), southwestern white pine, chinkapin oak (Quercus muehlenbergii), Pursh's buckthorn (Frangula purshiana), quaking aspen, and mountain snowberry [49]. In the Chisos Mountains of the Big Bend area, Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir grows with Arizona cypress (Cupressus arizonica), Arizona pine, Mexican pine (Pinus cembroides), bigtooth maple, alligator juniper (Juniperus deppeana), drooping juniper (J. flaccida), Pinchot juniper (J. pinchotii), Graves' oak (Quercus gravesii), and gray oak [76,181]. 

Mexico: In the Sierra Madre Occidental in Durango and Chihuahua Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir grows with Arizona pine, piño blanco (P. ayachuite), Durango pine (P. durangensis), Apache pine (P. engelmannii), Chihuahuan pine (P. leiophylla var. chihuahuana), piño triste (P. luholtzi), madrones (Arbutus spp.), and junipers [92,93]. Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir also occurs in isolated populations in Coahuila, Nuevo Leon, Zacatecas, and Sonora [117].

Classification systems describing plant communities in which Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir is a dominant species are listed below:

Alberta [2]
Arizona [10,89,188]
British Columbia [2]
Colorado [73,118,123,124]
Idaho [64,246,248]
Montana [205]
New Mexico [10,73,89]
Oregon [63,132]
Utah [171,187,271]
Washington [267]
Wyoming [246]

Related categories for SPECIES: Pseudotsuga menziesii var. glauca | Rocky Mountain Douglas-Fir

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Information Courtesy: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory. Fire Effects Information System

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