balsam fir Pinaceae Abies
balsamea (L.) Mill. symbol: ABBA
|Leaf: Flattened needles, 3/4 inch long, blunt or notched at end, may be shorter and sharper pointed on upper branches, shiny dark green above and silvery-blue below.
Flower: Species is monoecious; males occur on undersides of leaf axils, purple to yellow-brown; females occur in upper crown, are purple and inconspicuous.
Fruit: Resinous cones are upright, 2 to 3 1/2 inches long, oblong to cylindrical, green with purple tinge, with bracts shorter than the scales; scales are deciduous with seed dispersal in late summer.
Twig: Yellow-green, later turning gray; buds are reddish brown and resin covered; leaf scars are flat and rounded.
Bark: Shiny silvery gray-brown, smooth except for numerous, raised resin blisters; largest stems may become a bit scaly.
Form: Balsam fir is a small to medium sized tree reaching 80 feet tall with a very narrow, spire-like crown.
Looks like: Fraser fir
- white fir
- eastern hemlock
- English yew
| Additional Range Information:
Abies balsamea is native to North America.
Range may be expanded by planting.
See states reporting balsam fir.
| External Links:
Silvics of North America
USDA Plants Database
|© Copyright 2015, Virginia Tech|
Dept. of Forest Resources
and Environmental Conservation,
all rights reserved.
Photos and text by: John Seiler,
Edward Jensen, Alex Niemiera,
and John Peterson