Landowner Fact Sheets

Fraser fir Abies fraseri play

Fraser fir is the only fir endemic to the southern Appalachian mountains. It is primarily known for its use as a fragrant and shapely Christmas tree. Fraser fir is very similar to its northern counterpart, balsam fir.

range map Click to see more images.

Because Fraser fir is shade tolerant, shelterwood and group selection methods work best. Some christmas tree growers harvest Fraser firs and leave one whorl of growth below the cut. This method is said to be sufficient for a normally growing, upright tree to re-form.

Fraser fir is found only at high elevations, appearing sporadically on mountain tops throughout its range.


Fraser fir is a small to medium size tree to 80 feet, with a very narrow, spire-like crown.

Timber Value
Fraser fir is used for Christmas trees and wreaths.

Wildlife Value
Red squirrels eat seeds and terminal buds of fraser firs.
Attracts red squirrels

Insects and Diseases

Fun Facts
Fraser fir is commonly grown for Christmas trees, and foliage is often used for decoration. Growing Fraser fir for Christmas trees and wreaths is a multi-million dollar business in the southern Appalachians. The non-native insect pest balsam wooly adelgid has caused serious damage and mortality in native stands.

Latin Meaning
Abies: ancient name - rising or tall tree, name for the European fir / fraseri: after John Fraser

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Landowner Factsheets © 2004 Virginia Tech Forestry Department, all rights reserved. Text, images, and programming by: Dr. Jeff Kirwan, Dr. John R. Seiler, John A. Peterson, Edward C. Jensen, Guy Phillips, or Andrew S. Meeks.