Pacific silver fir

(Abies amabilis)



Abies amabilis, commonly known as the Pacific silver fir, is a fir native to the Pacific Northwest of North America, occurring in the Pacific Coast Ranges and the Cascade Range. It is also commonly referred to as the white fir, red fir, lovely fir, Amabilis fir, Cascades fir, or silver fir.The species name is Latin for 'lovely'. The species is native to the Pacific Northwest of North America, occurring in the Pacific Coast Ranges and the Cascade Range from the extreme southeast of Alaska, through western British Columbia, Washington and Oregon, to the extreme northwest of California. It grows from sea level to 1,500 metres (4,900 ft) in the north of the range, and to 1,000–2,300 m (3,300–7,500 ft) in the south of the range. It is always found in temperate rainforests with relatively high precipitation and cool, humid summers. Growing in dense stands, it prospers in shade and snow.Common associate trees are western hemlock in northern ranges, Douglas fir in central areas, and California buckeye in the extreme southern area of its range.Western hemlock is equally shade tolerant, but Pacific silver fir saplings are more resilient of ground obstacles.Though its thin bark makes it susceptible to fire, the slow-growing saplings succeed less shade-tolerant species.It survives well at high elevation, but eventually succumbs to root or heart rot, in addition to diseases and insects such as Adelges piceae. The tree is a large evergreen conifer growing to 30–45 m (98–148 ft), exceptionally 72 m (236 ft) tall,and with a trunk diameter of up to 1.2 m (3 ft 11 in), exceptionally 2.3 m (7 ft 7 in). The bark on younger trees is light grey, thin and covered with resin blisters.On older trees, it darkens and develops scales and furrows. The leaves are needle-like, flattened, 2–4.5 centimetres (3⁄4–1+3⁄4 in) long and 2 millimetres (1⁄16 in) wide by 0.5 mm (1⁄32 in) thick, matte dark green above, and with two white bands of stomata below, and slightly notched at the tip.The leaf arrangement is spiral on the shoot, but with each leaf variably twisted at the base so they lie flat to either side of and above the shoot, with none below the shoot. The shoots are orange-red with dense velvety pubescence. The cones are 9–17 cm (3+1⁄2–6+3⁄4 in) long and 4–6 cm (1+1⁄2–2+1⁄4 in) broad, dark purple before maturity; the scale bracts are short, and hidden in the closed cone. The winged seeds are released when the cones disintegrate at maturity about 6–7 months after pollination.

Taxonomic tree:

Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Coniferophyta
Class: Pinopsida
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