subalpine fir Pinaceae Abies
lasiocarpa (Hook.) Nutt. symbol: ABLA
Leaf: Flattened needles, usually about 1 inch long, thickened in the middle, bluish white bloom on all surfaces; tips mostly rounded, but may be notched (or pointed near top of tree); spirally arranged but uniformly upswept; commonly have a manicured appearance.
Flower: Species is monoecious; male cones bluish and borne beneath the leaves; female cones purple and borne upright near the top of the crown.
Fruit: Cones are 2 to 4 inches long, cylindrical, slender, and borne upright on the twig (frequently in clusters); cone scales are deciduous, falling from the cone as seeds ripen; purple when mature.
Twig: Stiff, orange-brown, and covered with round, flat leaf scars when needles fall. Buds are small, rounded, and covered with pitch; terminal buds usually occur in clusters of three or more.
Bark: When young, grayish green and covered with resin blisters; later turning gray to white, unbroken except near base of large trees. Resin pockets scattered throughout inner bark.
Form: When mature 40 to 100 feet tall and 1 to 2 feet in diameter. Very narrow crown of dense foliage; often spire-like with branches to the ground.
Looks like: Pacific silver fir - grand fir - California red fir - noble fir
Additional Range Information: Abies lasiocarpa is native to North America. Range may be expanded by planting. See states reporting subalpine fir.
More Information: Landowner Factsheet
External Links: USDAFS Silvics of North America - USDAFS Additional Silvics - USDA Plants Database - USDAFS Forest Products Lab
All material © 2018 Virginia Tech Dept. of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation; Photos and text by: John Seiler, Edward Jensen, Alex Niemiera, and John Peterson; Silvics reprinted from Ag Handbook 654