Balsam Fir

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Balsam Fir
Conservation status: Secure
Missing image
Abiebals.jpg



Balsam Fir foliage
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Plantae
Division:Pinophyta
Class:Pinopsida
Order:Pinales
Family:Pinaceae
Genus:Abies
Species:A. balsamea

Template:Taxobox section binomial botany

The Balsam Fir (Abies balsamea) is an North American fir, native to most of eastern and central Canada (Newfoundland west to central Alberta) and the northeastern United States (Wisconsin east to Maine, and south in the Appalachian Mountains to West Virginia). It is a small to medium-size evergreen tree typically 14-20 m tall, rarely to 27 m tall, with a narrow conic crown. The bark on young trees is smooth, grey, and with resin blisters, becoming rough and fissured or scaly on old trees. The leaves are flat needle-like, 1.5-3 cm long, dark green above often with a small patch of stomata near the tip, and two white stomatal bands below, and a slightly notched tip. They are arranged spirally on the shoot, but with the leaf bases twisted to appear in two more-or-less horizontal rows. The cones are erect, 4-8 cm long, dark purple, ripening brown and disintegrating to release the winged seeds in September.

There are two varieties:

  • Abies balsamea var. balsamea (Balsam Fir) - bract scales short, not visible on the closed cones. Most of the species' range.
  • Abies balsamea var. phanerolepis (Bracted Balsam Fir or Canaan Fir) - bract scales longer, visible on the closed cone. The southeast of the species' range, from southernmost Quebec to West Virginia. The name 'Canaan Fir' derives from one of its native localities, the Canaan Valley in West Virginia. Some botanists regard this variety as a natural hybrid between Balsam Fir and Fraser Fir (Abies fraseri), which occurs further south in the Appalachian Mountains.

Uses

The resin is used to produce canada balsam, and the wood is used for paper manufacture. It is also a popular christmas tree.

Balsam Fir is the Provincial tree of New Brunswick.

de:Balsamtanne es:Abeto balsámico sv:Balsamgran

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