white fir

(Abies concolor)

               
Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

LC - Least Concern

white fir

NatureServe

N5 - Secure

Minnesota

not listed

Nativity

Native to northern Mexico and western United States west of the Great Plains with isolated populations in Maine and Massachusetts. Cultivated.

Occurrence

Not known to occur outside of cultivation in Minnesota

Habitat

Mostly north-facing slopes of the Rocky Mountains at high elevation.

Pollination

May to June at low elevation, to July at higher elevation

Photo by Randy
Height

70 to 160

 

Identification

This is a very large tree, usually 70 to 160 tall and 18 to 65 in diameter at breast height. The largest known (record) tree is 192 tall and 106.6 in diameter. It occurs at high elevations in the Rocky Mountains, mostly on north-facing slopes.

The crown on young trees is narrow and pointed. It flattens out, becoming dome-like, as the tree ages. The principle branches are short and horizontal.

The needles are flat, flexible, and 1½ to 2¾ long. The base of the needle is more or less straight and extends at right angles to the twig. On the lower branches, the tip of the needle is usually rounded, sometimes pointed, never notched. There are from 7 to 18 rows, usually 12 rows, of pores (stomata) on both the upper and lower surfaces. The needles are light bluish-green on both surfaces, including midleaf, due to a whitish, waxy coating (glaucous). The coating may cover the entire surfaces or be restricted to two bands over the stomata. The species epithet concolor means “of uniform color”, and refers to the upper and lower surfaces of the needles bieng the same color. They have a citrussy odor when crushed.

The seed cones are cylindric, 2¾ to 4¾ long, 1¼ to 1¾ wide, and olive green. They are held upright from the twig.

 
Similar
Species

 


Distribution Distribution Map  

Sources: 2, 3, 24, 29, 30.


Comments

Subspecies
Some authors recognize two subspecies of Abies concolor, Colorado white fir (A. c. ssp. concolor) and Sierra Nevada white fir (A. c. ssp. lowiana). Others separate them as two distinct species, white fir (A. concolor) and Sierra white fir (A. lowiana). Still others do not distinguish between them.


Taxonomy

Family:

Pinaceae (Pine)

 

Genus:

Abies (fir)

 

Section:

Grandis

 
Synonyms

Abies concolor ssp. concolor

Abies concolor var. concolor

 
Common
Names

Colorado fir

Colorado white fir

concolor fir

silver fir

white balsam

white fir

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

glaucous

Pale green or bluish gray due to a whitish, powdery or waxy film, as on a plum or a grape.

 

stomate

A minute, epidermal pore, surrounded by two white guard cells, that allows the exchange of gasses and water vapor. The guard cells control the size of the opening. Plural: stomata.

       

Visitor Photos

   
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Randy


Sixty year old white fir, 96" d.b.h., Freeborn County, MN, September 2017

  white fir    
       

Concolor fir foliage, Freeborn County, MN, September 2017

  white fir    
       

The soft, long lived needles of white fir, Freeborn County, MN, September 2017

  white fir    
       

Strong branching, white fir, Freeborn County, MN, September 2017

  white fir    
       

       
       
       

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  Abies concolor
John Weiser
 
  Abies concolor  
     
  Abies concolor
Brian Bollman
 
  Abies concolor  
 
About

White Fir, including Abies concolor var. concolor of the Great Basin and Rocky Mountains, and Abies concolor var. lowiana of the Sierra Nevada and Klamath ranges.

 
     

 

slideshow

     

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Other Videos

 
  Trees with Don Leopold - white fir
ESFTV
 
   
 
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Published on Apr 4, 2012

 
     
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Published on Mar 4, 2016

white fir

 
     
  White Fir in Colorado
CSULittlefield
 
   
 
About

Published on Feb 19, 2016

Music by bensound.com.

Opening ram footage courtesy of www.tonybynum.com.

 
     
  Abies concolor Final
TheCampusTrees
 
   
 
About

Published on Apr 25, 2012

 
     

 

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Visitor Sightings

   
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Randy
September 2017

Location: Freeborn County, MN

Sixty year old white fir, 96" d.b.h.

white fir


     
     
 

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