white fir

(Abies concolor)

Conservation Status
white fir
Photo by Randy
  IUCN Red List

LC - Least Concern

     
  NatureServe

N5 - Secure

     
  Minnesota

not listed

     
           
           
           
 
Description
 
 

White fir 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.

 
     
 

Height

 
 

70 to 160

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
     
     
 
Habitat
 
 

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

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Pollination

 
 

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

 
     
 
Use
 
 

 

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

2, 3, 24, 29, 30.

 
  10/3/2017      
         
 

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

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
  Kingdom Plantae (green algae and land plants)  
  Subkingdom Viridiplantae (green plants)  
  Infrakingdom Streptophyta (land plants and green algae)  
  Superdivision Embryophyta (land plants)  
  Division Tracheophyta (vascular plants)  
  Subdivision Spermatophytina (seed plants)  
  Class Pinopsida (conifers)  
  Subclass Pinidae  
 

Order

Pinales (pines)  
 

Family

Pinaceae (pines)  
 

Genus

Abirs (fir)  
 

Section

Grandis  
  Species Abies concolor  
       
 

Subordinate Taxa

 
 

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.

 
       
 

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.

       
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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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Camera

     
Slideshows
   
  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
 
   
 
About

Published on Apr 4, 2012

   
       
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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

   
       

 

Camcorder

         
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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Created: 10/3/2017

Last Updated:

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