January 11, 2017


Douglas Fir | Pseudotsuga menziesii var. menziesii

The distinctive cone of a Douglas Fir... Kathryn's most recent painting of an elegant branch stripped of its needles reveals the intricate texture of the wood and its "mouse tail" tipped cone suspended in space. 

Kathryn tells me that the long curly tips of this unique cone, some of which have fallen off as it dried, are called mouse tails. Here's why...

Legend says that a long time ago there was a large fire in the forests of the west. Many animals were running around frantically trying to escape the flames. Tiny mice, not fast enough to outrun the fire, were trying to find shelter in various trees. The mice approached many trees asking for their help and were continuously denied. Finally they approached the large and mighty Douglas fir tree and asked if they could take shelter amongst its branches. The Douglas fir agreed to help the mice and allowed them to hide in its cones. The mice survived the fire, and to this day, if you examine a Douglas fir cone you can see the tails of the mice sticking out of the scales of a cone.

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