Abies concolor

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Abies concolor
White fir
Abies concolor Yosemite NP.jpg
Sierra Nevada White Fir
in Yosemite National Park
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pinophyta
Class: Pinopsida
Order: Pinales
Family: Pinaceae
Genus: Abies
Species: A. concolor
Binomial name
Abies concolor
(Gordon) Lindley ex Hildebrand
Abies concolor range map 3.png
Natural range of var. concolor in green and var. lowiana in blue
Synonyms[2][3]
  • Abies concolor fo. atroviolacea Cinovskis
  • Abies concolor subsp. lowiana (Gordon) A.E. Murray
  • Abies concolor var. bajacalifornica Silba
  • Abies concolor var. lowiana (Gordon) Lemmon
  • Abies concolor var. martinezii Silba
  • Abies grandis var. concolor (Gordon) A.Murray bis
  • Abies grandis var. lowiana (Gordon) Hoopes
  • Abies lasiocarpa var. pendula Carrière
  • Abies lowiana (Gordon) A. Murray bis
  • Abies lowiana var. pendula (Carrière) Fitschen
  • Abies lowiana var. viridula Debreczy & I. Rácz
  • Picea concolor Gordon & Glend.
  • Picea concolor var. violacea A.Murray bis
  • Picea grandis Newb.
  • Picea lowiana Gordon
  • Picea lowii Gordon
  • Picea parsonsiana Barron
  • Picea parsonsii Fowler
  • Pinus concolor Engelm. ex Parl.
  • Pinus concolor f. violacea (A.Murray bis) Voss
  • Pinus lowiana (Gordon) W.R. McNab

Abies concolor, commonly known as the white fir, is a fir native to the mountains of western North America, occurring at elevations of 900–3,400 m (2,952–11,154 ft). It is a medium to large evergreen coniferous tree growing to 25–60 m (80–197 ft) tall and with a trunk diameter of up to 2 m (6.5 ft). It is popular as an ornamental landscaping tree and as a Christmas tree. It is sometimes known as concolor fir.

Description[edit]

The leaves are needle-like, flattened, 2.5–6 cm long and 2 mm wide by 0.5–1 mm thick, green to glaucous blue-green above, and with two glaucous blue-white bands of stomatal bloom below, and slightly notched to bluntly pointed at the tip. The leaf arrangement is spiral on the shoot, but with each leaf variably twisted at the base so they all lie in either two more-or-less flat ranks on either side of the shoot, or upswept across the top of the shoot but not below the shoot.

The cones are 6–12 cm long and 4–4.5 cm broad, green or purple ripening pale brown, with about 100–150 scales; the scale bracts are short, and hidden in the closed cone. The winged seeds are released when the cones disintegrate at maturity about 6 months after pollination.[4]

Subspecies[edit]

Foliage and cones of subsp. concolor

As treated here, there are two subspecies; these are also variously treated at either the lower rank of variety by some authors, or as distinct species by others:

Abies concolor subsp. concolor[edit]

  • Abies concolor subsp. concolorColorado white fir or Rocky Mountains white fir. In the United States, at altitudes of 1700–3400 m (5,577-11,154 ft) in the Rocky Mountains from southern Idaho, south through Utah and Colorado, to New Mexico and Arizona, and on the higher Great Basin mountains of Nevada and extreme southeastern California, and a short distance into northern Sonora, Mexico. A smaller tree to 25–35 m (82-115 ft) tall, rarely 45 m (147 ft). Foliage strongly upcurved to erect on all except weak shaded shoots in the lower crown; leaves mostly 3.5–6 cm, and strongly glaucous on the upper side with numerous stomata. Tolerates winter temperatures down to about -40°C (-40°F).

Abies concolor subsp. lowiana[edit]

  • Abies concolor subsp. lowiana (syn. Abies lowiana) — Low's white fir or Sierra Nevada white fir. In the United States, at altitudes of 900–2700 m (2,900-8,800 ft) from the Cascades of central Oregon south through California (Klamath Mountains, Sierra Nevada) to northern Baja California, Mexico. A larger tree to 40–60 m (131-197 ft) tall. Foliage flattened on lower crown shoots, the leaves often raised above the shoot on upper crown shoots but not often strongly upcurved; leaves mostly 2.5–5 cm, and only weakly glaucous on the upper side with few or no stomata. Tolerates winter temperatures down to about -30°C (-22°F).

Related species[edit]

White fir is very closely related to grand fir (Abies grandis), with subspecies lowiana being particularly similar to the interior variety of grand fir A. grandis var. idahoensis, intergrading with it where they meet in the Cascades of central Oregon. To the south in Mexico, it is replaced by further close relatives, Durango fir (A. durangensis) and Mexican fir (A. mexicana). ...

Forest succession[edit]

White fir, being shade tolerant, is a climax species in forest succession in the Sierra Nevada, and in the presence of modern human controls against forest fires, it has flourished over the past two centuries. It is sometimes regarded as a pest by those in the lumber industry, as it drives out trees of greater stature (such as the sugar pine and incense cedar), has weaker, knottier wood than its competitors, and retains its lower limbs. This latter trait creates a fire ladder that allows flames to reach up to the canopy, thinning out giant sequoia stands that would escape smaller forest fires with minimal damage.[5]

Discovery[edit]

This tree was discovered by William Lobb on his expedition to California of 1849–1853, having been overlooked previously by David Douglas.[6][7][8]

Ecology[edit]

This tree is host to fir mistletoe (Phoradendron pauciflorum), a parasitic plant. It is attacked by many types of insects, such as the fir engraver (Scolytus ventralis).[9]

Uses[edit]

White fir (Abies concolor) essential oil in clear glass vial

White fir is a preferred construction species because of its nail-holding ability, lightness in weight, and resistance to split, twist, and pitch. It is straight-grained, non-resinous, fine-textured, stiff, and strong.[10]

White fir is popular as a Christmas tree and for Christmas decoration owing to its soft needles, generally excellent needle retention and abundance. It is often marketed as concolor or white fir.[11]

Cultivation[edit]

White fir is widely planted as an ornamental tree in parks and larger gardens, particularly some cultivars of subsp. concolor selected for very bright glaucous blue foliage, such as cv. 'Violacea'. The cultivar 'Compacta' has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.[12]

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Farjon, A. (2013). "Abies concolor". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 2 May 2014. 
  2. ^ Tropicos
  3. ^ The Plant List
  4. ^ Flora of North America vol 2.
  5. ^ The Giant Sequoia of the Sierra Nevada
  6. ^ Toby Musgrave, Chris Gardner & Will Musgrave (1999). The Plant Hunters. Seven Dials. p. 147. ISBN 1-84188-001-9. 
  7. ^ Hildebrand, Friedrich Hermann Gustav. Verhandlungen des Naturhistorischen Vereines der Preussischen Rheinlande und Westphalens 18: 261. 1861.
  8. ^ Gordon, George, & Glendinning, Robert. Pinetum 155. 1858.
  9. ^ Maloney P. E. & D. M. Rizzo. (2002). Pathogens and insects in a pristine forest ecosystem: the Sierra San Pedro Martir, Baja, Mexico. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 32:3 448-57.
  10. ^ Western Wood Products Association (WWPA)
  11. ^ Christmas Tree Types
  12. ^ RHS Plant Selector Abies concolor 'Compacta' AGM / RHS Gardening

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Abies concolor and :Abies lowiana .