bristlecone fir Pinaceae Abies
bracteata (D. Don) D. Don ex Poit. symbol: ABBR
Leaf: Flattened needles, stiff, dark green above (no bloom); and silvery-white below (2 bands of bloom), 1 to 2 1/2 inches long and sharp-pointed, either 2-ranked or spirally arranged, very much resembling bigcone Douglas-fir.
Flower: Species is monoecious; male cones yellowish and borne beneath the leaves; female cones erect and purple-brown, covered by long, pointed bracts, and borne near the top of the crown.
Fruit: Very distinct, 2-4 inches long, ovoid, with bracts that extend up to 2 inches beyond the end of the scale, giving the cone a bottle brush appearance, borne upright and disintegrating at maturity.
Twig: Slender with long, sharp-pointed, non-resinous bud scales.
Bark: Red-brown to gray and smooth, eventually becoming scaly or somewhat ridged and furrowed.
Form: Bristlecone fir is a small to medium size tree with a narrow, spire-like crown.
Looks like: Douglas-fir - grand fir - California nutmeg
Additional Range Information: Abies bracteata is native to North America. Range may be expanded by planting. See states reporting bristlecone fir.
External Links: USDAFS Additional Silvics - USDA Plants Database
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