Fir Trees, Abies
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Tree lists:
A-Z by scientific
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By Family
For state A-Z list click   state name below.
        -Color denotes a tree that is rare or endangered
Balsam Fir (Abies balsamea (L.) Mill.)
  Height: 40-60 ft
  Diameter: 1-1.5 ft
  Showy flower: no
  Fall colors: no-evergreen
  Drought tolerant: low
  Annual rainfall: 13-60
  Soil Needs: moist, rocky
  Frost Free Days: 80
  Minimum Temperature (F): -43
  Growth Rate: slow
  Longevity: 200 years
  State List: CT, IA, IN, MA, MD, ME
  MI, MN, NH, NY, OH, PA, RI, VA, VT
  WI, WV           
There are two varieties of
Abies balsamea, one being
typical of the species, var.
balsamea, and the other
being var. phanerolepis. For
this article, we will discuss
the species as a whole. 
A slow growing tree
species, the oldest
individual trees are typically
not more than 200 years
old.  Reaching 40 to 60 feet
in height and 1 to 1.5 feet in
diameter, a single trunk
supports whorled    ...more               
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Bristlecone Fir (Abies bracteata (D.Don) Nutt)
  Common names: Southern Foxtail..  
  Height: 20-50 ft, champion 76 ft
  Diameter: 1-2 ft
  Showy flower: no
  Fall colors: no-evergreen
  Drought tolerant:
  Annual rainfall:
  Soil Needs: well-draining, infertile...
  Frost Free Days:
  Minimum Temperature (F):
  Growth Rate: slow
  State List: CA                       
The champion Foxtail Pine in the Trinity National Forest is 76 feet tall, but the typical height is between 20-50 feet and 1-2 feet in diameter.  It is a slow growing tree.  The reddish-brown bark is furrowed and vertically ridged.  Twigs are red-brown when young, turning yellowish-gray when mature.  It's needles are short, only 1-2
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bright yellow pollen laden male cones at the branch tips
Fraser Fir (Abies fraseri (Pursh) Poiret
  Height: 45-55 ft
  Diameter: 1 ft
  Showy flower: no
  Fall colors: no-evergreen
  Drought tolerant: Low
  Annual rainfall: 45-100 inches
  Soil Needs: shallow, rocky
  Frost Free Days: 90
  Minimum Temperature (F): -23
  Growth Rate: moderate
  Shade tolerance: tolerant, stunted
  State List: GA, NC, TN, VA 
Fraser Fir, named after
Scotsman John Fraser,
has a moderate growth
rate, only hitting 20 feet tall
by age 20, and can live
between 100 to 150 years
of age.  It has a single
trunk which supports its
classic Christmas tree
pyramidal shape.  Needles
of Abies fraseri are deep
blueish green, flat and .8 to
1.5 inches long.  The root
system is shallow and
rarely reaches       ...more                                                                              
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Distibution maps courtesy USDA PLANTS Database
For an A-Z list (by scientific name) of native fir trees click here.
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Abies balsamea is native to to New England and the Great Lake states in the United States and all but the western most reaches of Canada
Abies fraseri is native to the Eastern United States and may be found in the higher elevations of Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia
Fir Pages 1, 2
Foliage of abies balsamea consists of many short needles
Abies balsamea seeds are light brown and have one large wing
Colorado Fir (Abies concolor (Gord & Glend) Lindl.)
  Common names: White Fir, Silver Fir 
  Height: 125-200 ft
  Diameter: 2-4 ft
  Showy flower: no
  Fall colors: no-evergreen
  Drought tolerant: Medium
  Annual rainfall: 18-80 inches
  Soil Needs: dry to moist
  Frost Free Days: 80
  Growth Rate: slow
  Longevity: 300 years or more
  State List: AZ, CA, CO, ID, MA, ME,
  NM, NV, OR, UT, WY                  
A shallow root system
supports a single trunk
encased in whorls of
branches.  The needles of
Abies concolor are are
deep bluish-green but are
the lightest of all nine
native firs, with new growth
lighter still.  Flat and blunt
to pointed at the tips, the
needles are 2-3 inches
long, in ranks of 2, extend
at a right angle out from
the twig and have silvery
bands called          ...more
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Abies concolor is native to the majority of the western United States as well as isolated pockets in Maine and Massachusetts
This fir tree has the lightest of all the fir species native to North America earning it the nicknames white fir or silver fir.
The dense foliage and pyramidal shape make Abies concolor a Christmas favorite.
Seeds of Fraser fir are small, slightly triangular and have a single, brownish gray wing to aid in wind dispersal.
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Fir, Abies
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The Fir genus, Abies, is in the Pine Family, Pinaceae.

The state distribution maps in the species info boxes below are from the USDA NRCS PLANTS Database at plants.usda.gov.  In instances where state specific maps are unavailable, the US distribution map will be used in its place.  Also, the PLANTS Database website states "Our
Other genera included in the pine family are:
Larix, Larch
Picea, Spruce
Pinus, Pine
Pseudotsuga, Douglas-Fir
Tsuga, Hemlock
county data are based primarily on the literature, herbarium specimens, and confirmed observations. However, not all populations have been documented, so some gaps in the distribution shown above may not be real. Remember that only native and naturalized populations are mapped!"
There are 9 species in the genus Abies.  You can go directly to a species botanical profile by selecting it here: