Abies concolor

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from White fir)
Abies concolor
White fir
Abies concolor Yosemite NP.jpg
Sierra Nevada white fir
in Yosemite National Park
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pinophyta
Class: Pinopsida
Order: Pinales
Family: Pinaceae
Genus: Abies
Species: A. concolor
Binomial name
Abies concolor
(Gordon) Lindley ex Hildebrand
Abies concolor range map 3.png
Natural range of Abies concolor
green - A. concolor var. concolor
blue - A. concolor var. lowiana
  • Abies concolor f. atroviolacea Cinovskis
  • Abies concolor subsp. lowiana (Gordon) A.E. Murray
  • Abies concolor var. bajacalifornica Silba
  • Abies concolor var. lowiana (Gordon) Lemmon
  • Abies concolor var. martinezii Silba
  • Abies grandis var. concolor (Gordon) A. Murray bis
  • Abies grandis var. lowiana (Gordon) Hoopes
  • Abies lasiocarpa var. pendula Carrière
  • Abies lowiana (Gordon) A. Murray bis
  • Abies lowiana var. pendula (Carrière) Fitschen
  • Abies lowiana var. viridula Debreczy & I. Rácz
  • Picea concolor Gordon & Glend.
  • Picea concolor var. violacea A.Murray bis
  • Picea grandis Newb.
  • Picea lowiana Gordon
  • Picea lowii Gordon
  • Picea parsonsiana Barron
  • Picea parsonsii Fowler
  • Pinus concolor Engelm. ex Parl.
  • Pinus concolor f. violacea (A.Murray bis) Voss
  • Pinus lowiana (Gordon) W.R. McNab

Abies concolor, commonly known as the white fir[4] or Colorado white-fir,[5] is a fir native to the mountains of western North America, occurring at elevations of 900–3,400 m (3,000–11,200 ft). It is a medium to large evergreen coniferous tree growing to 25–60 m (80–195 ft) tall and with a trunk diameter of up to 2 m (6.6 ft). It is popular as an ornamental landscaping tree and as a Christmas tree. It is sometimes called concolor fir.[6]


The leaves are needle-like, flattened, 2.5–6 cm (1–2 38 in) long and 2 mm (332 in) wide by 0.5–1 mm (164364 in) thick, green to glaucous blue-green above, and with two glaucous blue-white bands of stomatal bloom below, and slightly notched to bluntly pointed at the tip. The leaf arrangement is spiral on the shoot, but with each leaf variably twisted at the base so they all lie in either two more-or-less flat ranks on either side of the shoot, or upswept across the top of the shoot but not below the shoot.

The cones are 6–12 cm (2 144 34 in) long and 4–4.5 cm (1 581 34 in) broad, green or purple ripening pale brown, with about 100–150 scales; the scale bracts are short, and hidden in the closed cone. The winged seeds are released when the cones disintegrate at maturity about 6 months after pollination.[7]


Foliage and cones of subsp. concolor

As treated here, there are two subspecies; these are also variously treated at either the lower rank of variety by some authors, or as distinct species by others:

Abies concolor subsp. concolor

  • Abies concolor subsp. concolorColorado white fir or Rocky Mountains white fir. In the United States, at altitudes of 1,700–3,400 m (5,600–11,200 ft) in the Rocky Mountains from southern Idaho, south through Utah and Colorado, to New Mexico and Arizona, and on the higher Great Basin mountains of Nevada and extreme southeastern California, and a short distance into northern Sonora, Mexico. A smaller tree to 25–35 m (80–115 ft) tall, rarely 45 m (150 ft). Foliage strongly upcurved to erect on all except weak shaded shoots in the lower crown; leaves mostly 3.5–6 cm (1 382 38 in), and strongly glaucous on the upper side with numerous stomata. Tolerates winter temperatures down to about −40 °C (−40 °F).

Abies concolor subsp. lowiana

  • Abies concolor subsp. lowiana (syn. Abies lowiana) — Low's white fir or Sierra Nevada white fir. In the United States, at altitudes of 900–2,700 m (3,000–8,900 ft) from the Cascades of central Oregon south through California (Klamath Mountains, Sierra Nevada) to northern Baja California, Mexico. A larger tree to 40–60 m (130–195 ft) tall. Foliage flattened on lower crown shoots, the leaves often raised above the shoot on upper crown shoots but not often strongly upcurved; leaves mostly 2.5–5 cm (1–2 in), and only weakly glaucous on the upper side with few or no stomata. Tolerates winter temperatures down to about −30 °C (−22 °F).

Related species

White fir is very closely related to grand fir (Abies grandis), with subspecies lowiana being particularly similar to the interior variety of grand fir A. grandis var. idahoensis, intergrading with it where they meet in the Cascades of central Oregon. To the south in Mexico, it is replaced by further close relatives, Durango fir (A. durangensis) and Mexican fir (A. mexicana). ...

Forest succession

White fir, being shade tolerant, is a climax species in forest succession in the Sierra Nevada, and in the presence of modern human controls against forest fires, it has flourished over the past two centuries. It is sometimes regarded as a pest by those in the lumber industry, as it drives out trees of greater stature (such as the sugar pine and incense cedar), has weaker, knottier wood than its competitors, and retains its lower limbs. This latter trait creates a fire ladder that allows flames to reach up to the canopy, thinning out giant sequoia stands that would escape smaller forest fires with minimal damage.[8]


This tree was discovered by William Lobb on his expedition to California of 1849–1853, having been overlooked previously by David Douglas.[9][10][11]


This tree is host to fir mistletoe (Phoradendron pauciflorum), a parasitic plant. It is attacked by many types of insects, such as the fir engraver (Scolytus ventralis).[12]


White fir (Abies concolor) essential oil in clear glass vial

White fir is a preferred construction species because of its nail-holding ability, lightness in weight, and resistance to split, twist, and pitch. It is straight-grained, non-resinous, fine-textured, stiff, and strong.[13]

White fir is popular as a Christmas tree and for Christmas decoration owing to its soft needles, generally excellent needle retention and abundance. It is often marketed as concolor or white fir.[14]


White fir is widely planted as an ornamental tree in parks and larger gardens, particularly some cultivars of subsp. concolor selected for very bright glaucous blue foliage, such as cv. 'Violacea'. The cultivar 'Compacta' has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.[15]



  1. ^ Farjon, A. (2013). "Abies concolor". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 2 May 2014. 
  2. ^ Tropicos
  3. ^ The Plant List
  4. ^ "Abies concolor". Natural Resources Conservation Service PLANTS Database. USDA. Retrieved 6 January 2016. 
  5. ^ "BSBI List 2007". Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland. Archived from the original (xls) on 2015-01-25. Retrieved 2014-10-17. 
  6. ^ "Concolor Fir (White Fir)". National Christmas Tree Association. 
  7. ^ "Abies concolor". Flora of North America (FNA). Missouri Botanical Garden – via eFloras.org. 
  8. ^ The Giant Sequoia of the Sierra Nevada Archived October 22, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  9. ^ Toby Musgrave; Chris Gardner & Will Musgrave (1999). The Plant Hunters. Seven Dials. p. 147. ISBN 1-84188-001-9. 
  10. ^ Hildebrand, Friedrich Hermann Gustav. Verhandlungen des Naturhistorischen Vereines der Preussischen Rheinlande und Westphalens 18: 261. 1861.
  11. ^ Gordon, George, & Glendinning, Robert. Pinetum 155. 1858.
  12. ^ Maloney P. E. & D. M. Rizzo. (2002). Pathogens and insects in a pristine forest ecosystem: the Sierra San Pedro Martir, Baja, Mexico. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 32:3 448-57.
  13. ^ Western Wood Products Association (WWPA)
  14. ^ Christmas Tree Types Archived January 16, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  15. ^ RHS Plant Selector Abies concolor 'Compacta' AGM / RHS Gardening

Further reading

External links

  • Jepson Manuel Treatment: Abies concolor
  • Gymnosperm Database: Abies concolor(treated as varieties of one species).
  • Flora of North America - treated as two species:
Abies concolor and :Abies lowiana .
  • Interactive Distribution Map of Abies concolor
  • USDA Plants Profile for Abies concolor (white fir)
  • Conifers Around the World: Abies concolor - Rocky Mountain White Fir.
Retrieved from "https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Abies_concolor&oldid=813685125"
This content was retrieved from Wikipedia : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_fir
This page is based on the copyrighted Wikipedia article "Abies concolor"; it is used under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License (CC-BY-SA). You may redistribute it, verbatim or modified, providing that you comply with the terms of the CC-BY-SA