Silver Fir, Abies alba

Conifer with persistent foliage, family Pinaceae (Cedar, Norway Spruce,
Larch, Pine, Silver Fir, Hemlock), genus Abies.

Origin : Europe. The Silver Fir covers 4 % of French forests (see the distribution map of the French forest).
Habitat : unlike most other firs, the Silver Fir tolerates a humid and shady atmosphere. Silver Fir regenerates in undergrowth and demands place setting at the beginning of its installation. The Silver Fir is uninterested to the soil (accepted limestone).
Height: 30 m tall.
Hardiness: zone 6 (it supports cold until -23 °C or -9 °F). The Silver Fir grows in altitude because it resists cold.
Lifespan: 500 years.
Shape: conical (of a pyramid). The top of the crown flattens (in table) as it matures.
Grayish smooth bark with resin pockets.
Persistent foliage : not prickly flattened needles, from 3 to 4 cm, soft, arranged in comb on the stem. They have a notch at the top. Bright green on top. Two white stripes on the underside.
Upright cone (for difference with the Norway Spruce: see Norway Spruce).
Legends and traditions: In Greek mythology, the warrior Caénée is completely transformed into Fir. It is invincible. In Celtic astrology, the fir is " the mysterious ". In the language of flowers, the fir expresses hope in adversity and spiritual or social elevation, while the spruce represents length, time which passes.
Literature: a poem was devoted to it (Anatole France)
Use : the wood is dense, somewhat resinous, and used in joinery, stationery shop and framework.
It is of the resin of the fir that the turpentine is extracted.

Silver Fir, extended view

patterned fir

fir of China
fir of Spain

Species :
  • the fir of Nordmann is the famous Christmas fir.
  • the Mediterranean Firs located in Algeria, in Sicily, in Turkey, in Spain and in Greece do not resist severe cold, but fit in altitude. The fir of Spain, Abies pinsapo, is native to the South of Spain. It distinguishes itself from other firs by needles in bottlebrush (all around branching,), of 2 cm long (short), grey-green with grey-blue. Cones are 15 cm long.
  • the Firs of Asia, are seldom planted in France.
  • the American Firs, among which the fir of Vancouver and the noble fir, are the highest (40-80 m).

The fir of Douglas is not the genus of firs, but Pseudohemlocks.

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