Algerian fir

(Abies numidica)



Abies numidica, the Algerian fir, is a species of fir found only in Algeria, where it is endemic on Djebel Babor, the second-highest mountain (2,004 meters) in the Algerian Tell Atlas. Abies numidica is a medium-sized to large evergreen tree growing to 20-35 meters tall, with a trunk up to 1 meter diameter. The leaves are needle-like, moderately flattened, 1.5-2.5 centimeters long and 2-3 millimeters wide by 1 millimeters thick, glossy dark green with a patch of greenish-white stomata near the tip above, and with two greenish-white bands of stomata below. The tip of the leaf is variable, usually pointed, but sometimes slightly notched at the tip, particularly on slow-growing shoots on older trees. The cones are glaucous green with a pink or violet tinge, maturing brown, 10-20 centimeters long and 4 centimeters broad, with about 150–200 scales, each scale with a short bract (not visible on the closed cone) and two winged seeds; they disintegrate when mature to release the seeds. Abies numidica grows in a high-altitude Mediterranean climate at 1,800-2,004 meters (and rarely down to 1,220 meters) with an annual precipitation of 1,500-2,000 milliliters, the great majority of which falls as winter snow; the summers are warm and very dry. It is closely related to Abies pinsapo (Spanish fir), which occurs further west in the Rif mountains of Morocco and in southern Spain. Algerian fir, Abies numidica, is occasionally grown as an ornamental tree in parks and larger gardens. It is valued among firs for its drought tolerance. Abies numidica is a species of Plantae in the genus Tracheophyta, and was described by De Lannoy and Élie Abel Carrière. Abies numidica belongs to the genus Abies, and the family Pinaceae. The IUCN classifies the species as endangered. None of these subspecies are listed.

Taxonomic tree:

Kingdom: Plantae
Class: Pinopsida
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