Silver Fir

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Silver Fir
Conservation status: Secure
Missing image
Illustration_Abies_alba0.jpg
Abies alba


Abies alba
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Plantae
Division:Pinophyta
Class:Pinopsida
Order:Pinales
Family:Pinaceae
Genus:Abies
Species:A. alba

Template:Taxobox section binomial botany

Silver Fir or European Silver Fir (Abies alba) is a fir native to the mountains of Europe, from the Pyrenees north to Normandy, east to the Alps and the Carpathians, and south to southern Italy and northern Serbia, where it intergrades with the closely related Bulgarian Fir. It is a large evergreen coniferous tree growing to 40-50 m (exceptionally 60 m) tall and with a trunk diameter of up to 1.5 m. It occurs at altitudes of 300-1,700 m (mainly over 500 m), on mountains with a rainfall of over 1,000 mm.

The leaves are needle-like, flattened, 1.8-3 cm long and 2 mm wide by 0.5 mm thick, glossy dark green above, and with two greenish-white bands of stomata below. The tip of the leaf is usually slightly notched at the tip. The cones are 9-17 cm long and 3-4 cm broad, with about 150-200 scales, each scale with an exserted bract and two winged seeds; they disintegrate when mature to release the seeds.

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Abies_alba_01.jpg
Silver Fir foliage

It is closely related to Bulgarian Fir (Abies borisiiregis) to the southeast in the Balkan Peninsula and Sicilian Fir (A. nebrodensis) in Sicily, differing from these and other related Euro-Mediterranean firs in the sparser foliage, with the leaves spread either side of the shoot, leaving the shoot readily visible from above. Some botanists treat Bulgarian Fir and Sicilian Fir as varieties of Silver Fir, as A. alba var. acutifolia and A. alba var. nebrodensis respectively.

Silver Fir is the species first used as a Christmas tree, but has been largely replaced by Nordmann Fir (which has denser, more attractive foliage), Norway Spruce (which is much cheaper to grow), and other species. The wood is moderately soft and white, used for general construction and paper manufacture.da:Ădelgran (Abies alba) de:Wei▀tanne fr:Sapin blanc it:Abies alba nl:Zilverspar sv:Silvergran

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