White Fir -Tree Fact Sheet
Family: Pinaceae - Pine family
Latin name: Abies concolor
Common name: White fir
Plant Symbol: ABCO
Black and white photo of cones courtesy of USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database
- Lumber, boxes and crates, planning mill products, sashes, doors, and general mill work and pulpwood
- Light weight, easy to work, and relatively free from splitting when nailed
- Holds nails only moderately well
- White fir makes an excellent Christmas tree for the following reasons
- has a delightful aroma
- retains its needles well after cutting
- has strong sturdy branches that hold their shape.
- It is highly regarded as an ornamental or specimen tree in colder, moister climates.
- White fir seed is eaten by squirrels and other rodents.
- Seedlings are often browsed extensively by deer.
- Porcupines will gnaw the bark, and grouse will feed on the buds and needles.
- White fir makes good winter roosting trees for grouse.
- Abies concolor (Gord. & Glend.) Lindl. ex Hildebr.,
- White fir is a large forest tree from 60 to 200 feet in height that can live up to 300 years or more.
- Leaves (needles)
- 2 to 3 inches long
- silvery-blue to silvery-green
- extending at nearly right angles from all sides of the twig or more or less obscurely 2-ranked
- flattened, stomatiferous above and below
- rounded or acute at the apex.
- 2 to 5 inches long
- oblong, olive-green to purple
- bracts shorter than the scales, with short, broad erose shoulders, and spike like tips
- Bark is 4 to 7 inches thick on old trunks, ashy gray and divided by deep irregular furrows in thick, horny flattened ridges; young stems with conspicuous resin blisters.
- Adaptation and Distribution
- White fir is found in areas characterized by a moderately humid climate with long winters and moderate to heavy deposits of snow.
- It is found principally where precipitation exceeds 20 inches; however, best development is in areas where precipitation is 35 to 75 inches annually.
- Most white fir is found at elevations of 4,000 to 10,000 feet along the western Sierra Nevada.
- White fir is distributed primarily throughout the western United States.
- White fir may be regenerated by natural seeding, direct seeded, or planted.
- Cones begin to disintegrate and shed seeds in late September or early October
- There is a good seed crop about every 2 to 5 years.
- The seed germinates in the spring but usually less than 50 percent of the seed germinate.
- White fir is generally rated as tolerant to very tolerant of shade so that selective (partial) cutting tends to favor this species.
- Initial growth rate is usually very slow up to about 30 years, then growth accelerates markedly.
- Young trees are easily killed by fire and must be protected from this hazard.
- White fir Christmas trees require 6 to 9 years to produce a 6 foot tree.
USDA, NRCS. 2012. The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov). National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.
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