Abies concolor

white fir

Habit: a medium to large evergreen coniferous tree, Abies concolor, has a dense, pyramidal shape, and horizontal branching with the lower branches drooping toward the ground. Needles are glaucous on both-sides giving it a steely blue gray cast, are soft to the touch, and are the longest of any true fir. The pollen cones at pollination are red, purple, or green. Seed cones are cylindric, olive-green, turning yellow-brown, then darker brown.

Ecology: white fir is found on dry slopes and rocky places in middle to upper elevation. It is native to the mountains of Western North America, and occurring at altitudes of 2950-11150 ft (900-3400m).

Growing Conditions: prefers full sun, can tolerate shade, and deep, moist soil with good drainage. Less fussy about soil moisture and it will tolerate drought and heat better than most firs.

Concolor translates as “same color” referring to the upper and lower needle surfaces being the same color. The winged seeds provide food for songbirds and small mammals; deer eat the foliage, and porcupines enjoy the bark. ¬†Crushed needles have a fragrant citrus smell.

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Type: Evergreen Coniferous Tree
Height: 60-100 ft (18-30m)
Width: 15-25 ft (4.5-7.5 m)
USDA Zones: 5a-10a
Map courtesy of USDA-NRCS Plants Database.