This is a blog about the native conifers of the Pacific Northwest. It is a companion to the Northwest Conifers site. The blog will focus on timely and interesting details about our conifers, their connections to the rest of the environment, and our connection to them.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Popular Christmas Trees

Douglas fir
Do you have your tree yet? Here is a quick guide to popular Christmas trees available in the Portland area.

Native Oregon trees

Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) The #2 Christmas tree in US, #1 in Oregon. Soft, thin needles.

Grand fir
Grand fir (Abies Grandis)  Flat needles. Great aroma and good needle retention.

Noble fir
Noble fir (Abies Procera) Stiff branches with upturned needles. Nice form. Good needle retention.


Nordman fir
Nordman fir (Abies Nordmanniana) Native to S. Europe. A good tree for people with allergies. Good needle retention.

Fraser fir

Fraser fir (Abies fraseri) Native to Tennessee. Good needle retention and scent.

Scots pine
Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) Native to Europe. The #1 Christmas tree in the US. Great needle retention and scent.

For a tour of these and other Christmas trees at Portland's Hoyt Arboretum, see Christmas Trees at Hoyt Arboretum.

A Brief History of Christmas Trees

Early Europeans used evergreen boughs to decorate their homes at the winter solstice.
1500s  Christmas trees decorated in the town square in the capital of Latvia. According to legend, Martin Luther first put a decorated tree in the home.
1600s  Trees commonly decorated with apples in Germany.
1700s  Edible ornaments on trees in Germany. First record of lit candles on trees in France.
1800s  Christmas trees introduced in US by German settlers.
1846  Queen Victoria and family sketched sitting around a Christmas tree, leading to its popularity in England.
1851  First Christmas trees sold in US at a market in NY.
1853   First Christmas tree at the White House.
1882  First electric lights on a Christmas tree by Edward Johnson, protege of Thomas Edison.
1890s  Glass ornaments arrive in US from Germany. Larger trees become popular.
1901  First Christmas tree farm in US.

More information