CORVALLIS - Can't tell the difference between a Douglas-fir and a Ponderosa pine? Now there's help for the coniferously challenged.

A guide on a new World Wide Web page at Oregon State University can come to your rescue. And if you still haven't joined the information age, there's also a book.

Titled "Trees of the Pacific Northwest," the web page is written for the average person and doesn't use a lot of 60-cent words like silviculture. Armed with nothing more than your computer and sprig of a tree, you can figure out what tree you're looking at, where it lives, how big it gets and much more.

"This computer web page is really very colorful, informative and easy to use," said Betsy Littlefield, an instructional designer at the Forestry Media Center in OSU's College of Forestry.

"For either casual education about the trees around us or more serious learning as a resource guide, this information should be useful to many people," Littlefield said. "The photos are very clear, you can use close-ups for more detail, and the interactive format can be easier to use than a printed book would be."

Right now, Littlefield said, the information is confined to conifers; the authors soon hope to add a section on broadleaf trees.

All of the information comes from "Trees to Know in Oregon," written by Edward Jensen, an assistant professor in the Department of Forest Resources.

The web page address - - can take you straight to the page. For $4 you can get a printed copy by writing Publication Orders, Agricultural Communications, OSU, Administrative Services A422, Corvallis, OR 97331-2119. Ask for publication EC-1450.

"The computer will help you identify a tree sample you have or a 'mystery' tree," Littlefield said. "It's not just something to read, it gets you involved while teaching you a lot about the trees, their makeup and characteristics."

Click photos to see a full-size version. Right click and save image to download.


Betsy Littlefield, 541-737-4702