Nature Notes

Vol. V July 18th, 1927 Summer Season No. 3


"I pine fir yew," wrote the bell-hop to this sweetheart. He might have been naming the Douglas Fir. This, our largest tree, is scarcely big enough to bear all the names that have been hung on upon it. Early settlers were unable to find, in their stock of tree names, one to fit it. "Oregon pine" was the first name, although neither bark nor needles nor cones resembled those of a pine. Pine needles are long, and so are most pine cone. Cones and needles of the Douglas fir are short.

"Douglas spruce" was next tried. Douglas was an enterprising Scotch botanist who visited this region in the 1920's. Many of our trees and flowers were discovered by him. It was a fine thing to honor him, but the tree wasn't a spruce. Its needles are soft and blunt, while those of a spruce are stiff and sharp.

We now call the tree Douglas fir. In vain, in vain, it isn't a fir. Fir cones stand up straight from the branches. Douglas fir cones hang down. Botanists, despairing of an exact name, joined a Greek and a Japanese word and called it Pseudotsuaga, False Hemlock.

Alas, poor Douglas tree, neither pine, nor spruce, nor fir, nor yet a hemlock.

By S. B. Jones, Ranger-Naturalist.


They toil not, neither do they spin, may apply very well to the Lilies of the Field, but life does not often run that smoothly for the four-footed creatures of the wild.

True, there are seasons of plenty when Mother Nature is generous with her children, but there are also times of want when the good old Dame finds that cupboard is bare and the wild things suffer and die.

Winter is always a time of famine in the wilderness. Starvation stalks the hills and death follows in his wake. Since food is so hard to obtain, the wild animals have been forced to discover means of outwitting starvation. Those that fail to do so do not survive.

With the coming of spring the struggle becomes less intense but even in times of normal supply the wild-folk must work if they would eat. The deer may come to the waiting cougar and the salmon to the paw of the fishing bear but the cougar and the bear wait hungry hours for the game to come.

The cony and the field mouse labors all through the summer to store food for the long winter, otherwise they never see the spring, and the coyote and the wolf cover many miles of rugged range for every rabbit captured. Man is not the only one that works for what he gets.

By F. W. Schmoe, Naturalist.

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