California red fir Pinaceae Abies
magnifica A. Murray symbol: ABMA
Leaf: Flattened needles, about 1 inch long, linear, and 4-angled in cross-section with a ridge on top along the midrib; bluish white bloom on all surfaces; base curves, making the needle resemble a hockey stick; tips mostly rounded but may be pointed on cone-bearing branches; spirally arranged but usually upswept.
Flower: Species is monoecious; male cones purple to dark red and borne on undersides of branches; female cones are reddish-brown and borne upright near the top of the crown.
Fruit: Cones are 6 to 9 inches long, cylindrical, and borne upright on the twig; cone scales are deciduous, falling from the cone as seeds ripen; purple when mature; bracts are shorter than the scales (as opposed to noble fir). Shasta red fir (a hybrid) has bracts longer than cone scales.
Twig: Stiff, reddish brown, and covered with round, flat leaf scars when needles fall. Buds are small, rounded, brown and mostly non-resinous; terminal buds usually occur in clusters of three or more.
Bark: When young ashy white, later turning dark reddish brown and becoming deeply ridged and furrowed; inner bark a dark reddish brown.
Form: A large evergreen, 125 to 200 feet tall and 2 to 5 feet in diameter.
Looks like: white fir - noble fir - subalpine fir - Pacific silver fir
Additional Range Information: Abies magnifica is native to North America. Range may be expanded by planting. See states reporting California red fir.
External Links: USDAFS Silvics of North America - USDAFS Additional Silvics - USDA Plants Database - USDAFS Forest Products Lab
All material © 2017 Virginia Tech Dept. of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation; Photos and text by: John Seiler, Edward Jensen, Alex Niemiera, and John Peterson