Habit: one of the fastest growing conifers reaching great heights. While young it has a squat conical shape with smooth ashy-brown bark. As it grows older it forms a more slender crown with a flattened top, drooping branches and thick reddish-brown bark with deep furrows. The needles are flat, rounded and notched at the tip. They are a dark yellow green above and silvery-green below with two rows of white stomata. Female cones are upright on the upper branches while male cones hang from the lower branches. The root system can be very deep and wide.
Ecology: native to the Pacific Northwest from sea level to 3000 ft (914 m) in the Cascades and up to 7000 ft (2134 m) in the Rocky Mountains. Grand fir grows in river bottoms, valleys and rocky mountain slopes in rain shadow forests. It grows amongst Pseudotsuga menziesii, Abies concolor, and Picea sitchensis.
Growing Conditions: full sun or part shade, in moist, deep, well-drained acidic soil, although it can tolerate drier climates as well as shade. With the right conditions it is able to reach great heights becoming an overstory plant. With drier conditions it will stay shorter as an understory plant.
The dried needles give off a fragrant aroma of oranges/citrus when crushed. It provides good cover for wildlife and the seeds are a food source for small mammals and birds.