Spanish fir

(Abies pinsapo)



Abies pinsapo, the Spanish fir, is a species of tree in the family Pinaceae, native to southern Spain and northern Morocco. Related to other species of Mediterranean firs, it appears at altitudes of 900–1,800 metres (3,000–5,900 ft) in the Sierra de Grazalema in the province of Cádiz and the Sierra de las Nieves and Sierra Bermeja, both near Ronda in the province of Málaga. In Morocco, it is limited to the Rif Mountains at altitudes of 1,400–2,100 metres (4,600–6,900 ft) on Jebel Tissouka and Jebel Tazaot. Abies pinsapo is an evergreen conifer growing to 20–30 m tall, with a conic crown, sometimes becoming irregular with age. The leaves are 1.5–2 cm long, arranged radially all round the shoots, and are strongly glaucous pale blue-green, with broad bands of whitish wax on both sides. The cones are cylindrical, 9–18 cm long, greenish-pink to purple before maturity, and smooth with the bract scales short and not exserted. When mature, they disintegrate to release the winged seeds. The Moroccan variety, Abies pinsapo var. marocana or the Moroccan fir, differs in the leaves being less strongly glaucous and the cones slightly longer, 11–20 cm long. The cultivars A. pinsapo ‘Aurea’ (to 8m, with golden new growth) and A. pinsapo 'Glauca' (to 12m plus, with grey-green leaves) have gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit. Spanish fir, despite the best conservation and reforestation efforts that have greatly increased its abundance, still has several threats such as fires, urban projects, erosion, excessive visitors and tourists, etc.

Taxonomic tree:

Kingdom: Plantae
Class: Pinopsida
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