|Nordmann Fir foliage|
Abies nordmanniana, the Nordmann fir, is a fir native to the mountains west and east of the Black Sea, in Turkey, Georgia, Russian Caucasus and northern parts of Armenia. It occurs at altitudes of 900–2,200 m on mountains with a rainfall of over 1,000 mm.
Current distribution of the Nordmann fir is associated with the forest refugia that existed during the Ice Age at the eastern and southern Black Sea coast. The species is not found in currently suitable areas of the Eastern Greater Caucasus, which are separated from the Black Sea Coast by more than 400–500 km, in spite of currently suitable climate.
It is a large evergreen coniferous tree growing to 60 m tall and with a trunk diameter of up to 2 m. In the Western Caucasus Reserve, some specimens have been reported to be 78 m and even 85 m tall, the tallest trees in Europe.
The leaves are needle-like, flattened, 1.8–3.5 cm long and 2 mm wide by 0.5 mm thick, glossy dark green above, and with two blue-white bands of stomata below. The tip of the leaf is usually blunt, often slightly notched at the tip, but can be pointed, particularly on strong-growing shoots on young trees. The cones are 10–20 cm long and 4–5 cm broad, with about 150–200 scales, each scale with an exserted bract and two winged seeds; they disintegrate when mature to release the seeds.
There are two subspecies (treated as distinct species by some botanists), intergrading where they meet in northern Turkey at about 36°E longitude:
- Caucasian fir Abies nordmanniana subsp. nordmanniana. Native to the Caucasus mountains and northeastern Turkey west to about 36°E. Shoots often pubescent (hairy).
- Turkish fir Abies nordmanniana subsp. equi-trojani (syn. A. bornmuelleriana, A. equi-trojani). Native to northwestern Turkey from Mount Ida eastwards to about 36°E. Shoots usually glabrous (hairless).
Nordmann fir is one of the most important species grown for Christmas trees, being favoured for its attractive foliage, with needles that are not sharp and do not drop readily when the tree dries out.
- Knees, S. & Gardner, M. (2011). "Abies nordmanniana". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 3 May 2014.
- Tarkhnishvili D, Gavashelishvili A, Mumladze L. (2012). "Palaeoclimatic models help to understand current distribution of Caucasian forest species". Biol. J. Linn. Soc. (105): 231–248. Retrieved 2013-11-05.
- "Western Caucasus WHA, IUCN Technical Evaluation".
- "RHS Plant Selector Abies nordmanniana 'Golden Spreader' AGM / RHS Gardening". Apps.rhs.org.uk. Retrieved 2013-11-05.
- "RHS Plant Selector Abies nordmanniana AGM / RHS Gardening". Apps.rhs.org.uk. Retrieved 2013-11-05.
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