Grand firs are one of the tallest firs, reaching heights of 300 feet. It is easily distinguished from other firs by its sprays of lustrous needles in two distinct rows. They are usually horizontally spread so that both the upper and lower sides of the branches are clearly visible. It grows in dry to moist coniferous forests in rain shadow areas, often in association with Douglas-fir. It commonly ranges from river flats to fairly dry slopes from low to middle elevations. Northwest Native Americans have a history of making uses of grand fir foliage and branches. They turned branches into headdresses and costumes and used the branches for scrubbing individuals in purification rites. Some tribes boiled the needles to make a medicinal tea for colds, air freshener, and burned them as incense or to make a purifying smoke to ward off illnesses.
Douglas firs are one of the most commonly marketed Christmas tree species in the United States where they are sold alongside firs like Noble Fir and Grand Fir. Douglas fir Christmas trees are usually trimmed to a near perfect cone. This wide ranging species grows from 70-250 feet tall. The branches are spreading to dropping, the buds sharply pointed and the bark is very thick, fluted, ridged, rough and dark brown. The needles are dark green or blue green, soft to touch and radiate out in all directions from the branch. They have a sweet fragrance when crushed. It grows under a variety of environments from extremely dry, low elevation sites to moist sites. Mostly found in Central California, Western Oregon and Washington. Under natural conditions the trees can live for a thousand years, largely due to a very thick bark that allows them to survive moderate fires.