Friday, October 15, 2010

Abies grandis - Grand Fir

Abies grandis: Abies is the Latin name for silver fir; grandis, meaning 'grand,' referring to the tree's distinction as the world's tallest species of fir.

Also known as Lowland Fir.

Evergreen. Native to coastal mountains from British Columbia to Sonoma County, California, eastward into Montana. Prefers a moist, cool climate. Not tolerant of drier Sierra Nevada locations, where occasionally grown specimens are much smaller than in the northwest.

Grows to 300' tall in habitat and 20' wide, with a dense conical shape, broader with age as lower horizontal branches droop, usually to the ground, uppermost growth losing vigour and the top becoming rounded.

Needles are shiny dark green, 1 1/2 to 2" long, flat, with blunt or notched ends, 2 white stomatal bands below, grooved uppersides, sometime alternating shorter and longer needles side by side, distinctively flat but arched and recurving in 2 rows on lower branches, those near the crown shorter, denser and pointing forward.

Cones are cylindrical, yellowish green to greenish purple, 2-4" long, upright on upper branches with thin, rounded, flaky scales, broader than long, and hidden inserted bracts, maturing in fall of the first year.

Bark is thin, gray, with resin blisters, becoming reddish brown with age with thin, flat or platy ridges and many small cracks and fissures.

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