In search of the perfect Christmas tree for your family? What’s the Cadillac of Christmas trees? If you want a soft-needled tree, do you have to sacrifice fragrance? And what is a Concolor? You can get the answers thanks to the new “Doug Fir Christmas Tree Guide” app – available free for your Android phone.
“There isn’t another app like this,” said Dr. Christopher Hardy, a biology professor at Millersville University . “I designed this systematic guide to answer the questions I had about Christmas trees. Doug Fir will help people identify trees and learn a bit about them at the same time—all from the ease of their phone.”
Hardy designed the app with Millersville computer science student, Joe Marks, who graduated in May.
“The top 10 trees we cover make up 99 percent of all Christmas trees sold,” said Hardy. These include: Concolor (white fir), Fraser fir, Douglas fir, Scotch pine, white pine, Colorado blue spruce, Norway spruce, Arizona cypress (ice-cedar), Leyland cypress and red-cedar.
“A blue spruce may look impressive in a great room,” said Hardy, “but its sharp needles can draw blood and wouldn’t be great in close quarters with kids. A Concolor (White Fir) is an up-and-coming tree that is both soft and very fragrant. It has the blue-silvery look of the spruce without the spruce’s prickly needles.”
Some fun facts from the Doug Fir app:
- The white fir is the natural host to the “fir mistletoe,” which is a parasitic plant.
- The pines—Scotch and white—while soft, are not as fragrant as the firs.
- The conical shape of Christmas trees is an adaptation designed to shed snow and ice in the winter.
- The wonderfully scented resin of Christmas trees is also the source of the industrial solvent turpentine and the rosin used to create friction on bows for string instruments, and it improves the grip of gymnasts, bowlers and baseball pitchers.
- The sticky resin protects the trees from insect and fungal attacks.
- The berry-like cones of the common juniper, a close relative of red-cedar Christmas trees, are used to flavor gin.
- The Fraser fir is considered the Cadillac because of its great looks/smell and needle retention.
And, coming soon is the Doug Fir app for iPhones.