(D. Don) A. Poit.
|Abies bracteata native range|
The bristlecone fir or Santa Lucia fir (Abies bracteata) is a rare fir, confined to slopes and the bottoms of rocky canyons in the Santa Lucia Mountains on the central coast of California, USA. A small remnant community exists on the highest northern slopes of the Santa Susana Mountains in Southern California.
It is a tree 20–35 m tall, with a slender, spire-like form. The bark is reddish-brown with wrinkles, lines and resin vesicles ('blisters'). The branches are downswept. The needle-like leaves are arranged spirally on the shoot, but twisted at the base to spread either side of the shoot in two moderately forward-pointing ranks with a 'v' gap above the shoot; hard and stiff with a sharply pointed tip, 3.5–6 cm long and 2.5–3 mm broad, with two bright white stomatal bands on the underside. The cones are ovoid, 6–9 cm long (to 12 cm including the bracts), and differ from other firs in that the bracts end in very long, spreading, yellow-brown bristles 3–5 cm long; they disintegrate in autumn to release the winged seeds. The male (pollen) cones are 2 cm long, shedding pollen in spring.
A popular ornamental, it can be seen in many arboreta (Gymnosperm Database).
- Conifer Specialist Group (1998). Abies bracteata. 2006. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. www.iucnredlist.org. Retrieved on 11 May 2006.
- Gymnosperm Database: Abies bracteata
- Photos of foliage
- Rogers, David Perfect Pattern of Silvan Perfection on the Symmetrical Plan, the Rare Santa Lucia Fir (1998)