|Spanish Fir at Wakehurst Place Botanical Gardens in the UK|
Abies pinsapo (Spanish fir) is a species of fir native to southern Spain and northern Morocco. Related to other species of Mediterranean firs, it is considered the Andalusian National Tree, and is native to the Andalusian mountains. In Spain, it appears at altitudes of 900–1,700 metres (3,000–5,600 ft) in the Sierra de Grazalema in the province of Cádiz and the Sierra de las Nieves and Sierra Bermeja, both near Ronda in the province of Málaga. In Morocco, it is limited to the Rif Mountains at altitudes of 1,400–2,100 metres (4,600–6,900 ft) on Jebel Tissouka and Jebel Tazaot.
Abies pinsapo is an evergreen tree growing to 20–30 m tall, with a conic crown, sometimes becoming irregular with age. The leaves are 1.5–2 cm long, arranged radially all round the shoots, and are strongly glaucous pale blue-green, with broad bands of whitish wax on both sides. The cones are cylindrical, 9–18 cm long, greenish-pink to purple before maturity, and smooth with the bract scales short and not exserted. When mature, they disintegrate to release the winged seeds.
The Moroccan variety, Abies pinsapo var. marocana or the Moroccan fir, differs in the leaves being less strongly glaucous and the cones slightly longer, 11–20 cm long.
Spanish fir, despite the best conservation and reforestation efforts that have greatly increased its abundance, still has several threats such as fires, urban projects, erosion, excessive visitors and tourists, etc.
In the Sierra de Grazalema the footpath that runs through the Spanish fir forest is called "El Pinsapar": 6 hours, steep initial climb. Linear. Start 2km from Grazalema, finish in Benamahoma arriving at the campsite on Calle Nacimiento. There are great views and of course the Pinsapo forest is the highlight of this walk. (Alternatively, retrace your steps from the forest to return to the car park.) A Permit is needed at all times of year to enter this restricted and protected area of the Sierra de Grazalema
A Spanish fir in Tasmanian botanical gardens
- Conifer Specialist Group (1998). Abies pinsapo. 2006. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. www.iucnredlist.org. Retrieved on 11 May 2006.