Fraser fir

(Abies fraseri)



Abies fraseri is a small evergreen coniferous tree typically growing between 10 and 15 m (30 and 50 ft) tall, but rarely to 25 m (80 ft), with a trunk diameter of 40–50 cm (16–20 in), but rarely 75 cm (30 in). The crown is conical, with straight branches either horizontal or angled upward at 40° from the trunk; it is dense when the tree is young and more open in maturity. The bark is thin, smooth, grayish brown, and has numerous resinous blisters on juvenile trees, becoming fissured and scaly in maturity. The leaves are needle-like; arranged spirally on the twigs but twisted at their bases to form two rows on each twig; they are 10–23 mm (3⁄8–7⁄8 in) long and 2–2.2 mm (5⁄64–3⁄32 in) broad; flat; flexible; rounded or slightly notched at their apices (tips); dark to glaucous green adaxially (above); often having a small patch of stomata near their apices; and having two silvery white stomatal bands abaxially (on their undersides). Their strong fragrance resembles turpentine. The cones are erect; cylindrical; 3.5–7 cm (1+1⁄2–2+3⁄4 in) long, rarely 8 cm (3+1⁄4 in), and 2.5–3 cm (1–1+1⁄8 in) broad, rarely 4 cm (1+1⁄2 in) broad; dark purple, turning pale brown when mature; often resinous; and with long reflexed green, yellow, or pale purple bract scales. The cones disintegrate when mature at 4–6 months old to release the winged seeds. Some botanists regard the variety of Balsam fir named Abies balsamea var. phanerolepis as a natural hybrid with Fraser fir, denominated Abies × phanerolepis (Fernald) Liu.

Taxonomic tree:

Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Coniferophyta
Class: Pinopsida
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