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Abies fraseri - (Pursh.)Poir.
                 
Common Name She Balsam, Fraser fir, Southern Balsam Fir
Family Pinaceae
USDA hardiness 4-7
Known Hazards The oleoresin (Canada balsam) can cause dermatitis in some people[222].
Habitats Mountains, often forming forests of considerable extent at elevations of 1200 - 1800 metres[11, 82].
Range South-eastern N. America - Virginia and West Virginia to North Carolina and Tennessee.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Full shade Semi-shade Full sun

Summary
Form: Pyramidal, Upright or erect.

Abies fraseri She Balsam, Fraser fir, Southern Balsam Fir


Abies fraseri She Balsam, Fraser fir, Southern Balsam Fir
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Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of cone
Abies fraseri is an evergreen Tree growing to 15 m (49ft 3in) at a fast rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 4 and is not frost tender. It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower in May, and the seeds ripen from Sep to October. The flowers are monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant) and are pollinated by Wind.Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in heavy clay soil. Suitable pH: acid and neutral soils. It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil. The plant is not wind tolerant.

Synonyms
Pinus fraseri.
Habitats
Woodland Garden Canopy;
Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Inner bark.
Edible Uses: Condiment;  Gum;  Tea.

The following uses are for the closely related A. balsamea. Since this species also has blisters of resin in the bark[81], the uses quite probably also apply here. Inner bark - cooked. It is usually dried, ground into a powder and then used as a thickening in soups etc or mixed with cereals when making bread[105, 177]. An emergency food, it is only used when all else fails[183]. An aromatic resinous pitch is found in blisters in the bark[64]. When eaten raw it is delicious and chewy[101, 183]. An oleoresin from the pitch is used as a flavouring in sweets, baked goods, ice cream and drinks[183]. Tips of young shoots are used as a tea substitute[177, 183].
Medicinal Uses


Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Analgesic;  Antiscorbutic;  Antiseptic;  Diuretic;  Poultice;  Stimulant;  Tonic;  VD.


The following uses are for the closely related A. balsamea. Since this species also has blisters of resin in the bark[81], the uses quite probably also apply here. The resin obtained from the balsam fir (see 'Uses notes' below) has been used throughout the world and is a very effective antiseptic and healing agent. It is used as a healing and analgesic protective covering for burns, bruises, wounds and sores[213, 222, 226]. It is also used to treat sore nipples[213] and is said to be one of the best curatives for a sore throat[245]. The buds, resin, and/or sap are used in folk remedies for treating cancers, corns, and warts[269]. The resin is also antiscorbutic, diaphoretic, diuretic, stimulant and tonic[4, 171, 222]. It is used internally in propriety mixtures to treat coughs and diarrhoea, though taken in excess it is purgative[238]. A warm liquid of the gummy sap was drunk as a treatment for gonorrhoea[212]. A tea made from the leaves is antiscorbutic[4, 171]. It is used in the treatment of coughs, colds and fevers[222]. The leaves and young shoots are best harvested in the spring and dried for later use[238]. This plant was widely used medicinally by various North American Indian tribes[257]. The resin was used as an antiseptic healing agent applied externally to wounds, sores, bites etc., it was used as an inhalant to treat headaches and was also taken internally to treat colds, sore throats and various other complaints[257].
Other Uses
Adhesive;  Gum;  Microscope;  Repellent;  Resin;  Stuffing;  Wood.

Wood - light, soft, coarse grained, not strong[82]. It is occasionally manufactured into lumber[82]. The following uses are for the closely related A. balsamea. Since this species also has blisters of resin in the bark[81], the uses quite probably also apply here. The balsamic resin 'Balm of Gilead'[11, 46] or 'Canada Balsam' according to other reports[64, 226] is obtained during July and August from blisters in the bark or by cutting pockets in the wood[222].. Another report says that it is a turpentine[171]. It is used medicinally, also in the manufacture of glues, candles and as a cement for microscopes and slides - it has a high refractive index resembling that of glass[11, 46, 64, 82, 222, 226]. The average yield is about 8 - 10 oz per tree[171]. The resin is also a fixative in soaps and perfumery[171]. Leaves are a stuffing material for pillows etc - they impart a pleasant scent[46, 61] and also repel moths[169]
Cultivation details
Landscape Uses:Christmas tree, Screen, Specimen. Prefers a good moist but not water-logged soil[1]. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Very shade tolerant, especially when young[81, 126], but growth is slower in dense shade[81]. Intolerant of atmospheric pollution[1]. Prefers slightly acid conditions down to a pH of about5[200]. Prefers growing on a north-facing slope[200]. A shallow-rooted plant, making it vulnerable to high winds[229]. A fast-growing but short-lived species[200]. Trees are very cold hardy but are often excited into premature growth in mild winters and this new growth is susceptible to damage by late frosts[11]. No other member of this genus has proved to be of as little value, or so short-lived as this species; there is scarcely a good tree in the country, though it is attractive when young[11]. Usually short-lived in cultivation, though bearing its interesting cones whilst still young[81]. Young trees can be handsome and vigorous, one grew 120cm in two years, but growth soon slows[185]. Trees are known to have lived more than 60 years[185]. Trees should be planted into their permanent positions when they are quite small, between 30 and 90cm in height. Larger trees will check badly and hardly put on any growth for several years. This also badly affects root development and wind resistance[200]. Trees have a thin bark and are therefore susceptible to forest fires[229]. This species is closely related to A. balsamea and is seen as no moer than a form of that species by some botanists[11, 229, 270]. There are some named forms selected for their ornamental value[200]. Trees can produce cones when only 2 metres tall[200]. Plants are strongly outbreeding, self-fertilized seed usually grows poorly[200]. They hybridize freely with other members of this genus[200]. The cones break up on the tree and if seed is required it should be harvested before the cones break up in early autumn[80]. Special Features: North American native, There are no flowers or blooms.
Propagation
Seed - sow early February in a greenhouse or outdoors in March[78]. Germination is often poor, usually taking about 6 - 8 weeks[78]. Stratification is said to produce a more even germination so it is probably best to sow the seed in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe in the autumn[80, 113]. The seed remains viable for up to 5 years if it is well stored[113]. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on for at least their first winter in pots. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Alternatively, if you have sufficient seed, it is possible to sow in an outdoor seedbed. One report says that it is best to grow the seedlings on in the shade at a density of about 550 plants per square metre[78] whilst another report says that they are best grown on in a sunny position[80]. Trees often self-layer in the wild[226], so this might be a means of increasing named varieties in cultivation[K].
Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :
Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
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Abies balsameaBalsam Fir35
Abies cephalonicaGrecian Fir00
Abies concolorColorado Fir, White fir02
Abies delavayi 00
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Abies homolepisNikko Fir00
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Abies magnificaCalifornian Red Fir, Shasta red fir00
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Abies pindrowWest Himalayan Fir00
Abies proceraNoble Fir01
Abies recurvata 00
Abies religiosaSacred Fir01
Abies sachalinensisSakhalin Fir00
Abies sibiricaSiberian Fir01
Abies spectabilisHimalayan Fir02
Abies squamataFlaky Fir00
Abies veitchiiVeitch Fir, Christmastree00
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Author
(Pursh.)Poir.
Botanical References
1182
Links / References
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