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Abies grandis - (Douglas. ex D.Don.)Lindl.                
                 
Common Name Grand Fir, Giant Fir, Lowland White Fir
Family Pinaceae
Synonyms A. excelsior.
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Found in a variety of soils, but the best specimens are growing in deep rich alluvial soils[229] It ranges from the coast to inland elevations of about 2000 metres if growing by streams[60, 82].
Range Western N. America - British Columbia to California, east to Montana and Idaho.
Edibility Rating  
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Full shade Semi-shade Full sun

Summary       
Form: Columnar, Upright or erect.

Physical Characteristics       
 icon of manicon of cone
Abies grandis is an evergreen Tree growing to 75 m (246ft) by 8 m (26ft) at a fast rate.
It is hardy to zone 6 and is not frost tender. It is in leaf 12-Jan, 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.

USDA hardiness zone : 5-6


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 can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.
It cannot tolerate atmospheric pollution.

Abies grandis Grand Fir, Giant Fir, Lowland White Fir


Abies grandis Grand Fir, Giant Fir, Lowland White Fir
   
Habitats       
Woodland Garden Canopy; not Deep Shade;
Edible Uses                                         
Edible Parts: Inner bark.
Edible Uses: Drink;  Gum;  Tea.

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[161]. It is best used in the spring when it is rich and juicy[213]. An emergency food, it is only used when all else fails[183]. The gum from the trunk is hardened (probably in cold water[K]) and used as a chewing gum[257]. It can also be made into a drink[257]. Young shoot tips are used as a tea substitute[183, 257].
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.

Antirheumatic;  Laxative;  Ophthalmic;  Skin;  Stomachic;  TB;  Tonic.

A gum that exudes from the bark is used externally as an ointment[245]. It has also been used as a wash for sore and infected eyes and as a gargle for sore throats[257]. A decoction is laxative and tonic, it is used to treat stomach problems[257]. Externally, the gum is applied as a poultice to cuts and sores[257]. A decoction of the root bark or stem is used in the treatment of stomach problems and TB[257]. A poultice is applied to joints to ease rheumatism or to the chest to treat lung haemorrhages[257]. A decoction of the leaves is used as a tonic and in the treatment of colds[257].
Other Uses
Baby care;  Dye;  Gum;  Incense;  Repellent;  Roofing;  Wood.

The aromatic leaves are used as a moth repellent[169]. The boughs have been used in the home as an incense[257]. A pink dye can be obtained from the bark[226]. The dried and hardened pitch can be chewed as a tooth cleanser[257]. A powder made from the dried and crushed leaves was used as a baby powder by the N. American Indians[226]. The bark can be used as a waterproof covering material for buildings and canoes[257]. Wood - light, soft, coarse grained, not strong, not very durable. Used for interior work, cases, etc[46, 61, 82]. Of little value as a lumber, it is used mainly for pulp and fuel[229, 257].
Cultivation details                                         
Landscape Uses:Screen, Specimen. Prefers a good moist but not water-logged soil[1]. Grows well in heavy clay soils and succeeds in poor sandy soils[185]. Very shade tolerant, especially when young, but growth is slower in dense shade[81]. Intolerant of atmospheric pollution[1]. Trees succeeds in very exposed positions, even if the top is blown out by the wind the trees make one or more new tops and continue growing with no loss of vigour[11, 185]. Prefers slightly acid conditions down to a pH of about 5[200]. Prefers growing on a north-facing slope[200]. This species thrives exceedingly well in the moister parts of Britain, where it grows very quickly[11]. It is cultivated for timber in W. and N. Europe[50]. Trees are slow growing for the first few years but they are then quite fast with trees growing 60 - 100cm in height and 8cm in girth per year even when they are quite large[1, 185]. New growth takes place from early May to July[185]. Trees grow best in the Perthshire valleys of Scotland and in the far west of Britain[11]. Some trees have reached heights in excess of 60 metres in 100 years in Wales and Scotland, making them amongst the tallest trees in Europe[200]. A very ornamental plant[1], it is rarely harmed by disease, insects or frost[1]. The crushed leaves have a fruity orange-flavoured aroma[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]. Plants are strongly outbreeding, self-fertilized seed usually grows poorly[200]. They hybridize freely with other members of this genus[200]. 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].
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Expert comment                                         
 
      
Author                                         
(Douglas. ex D.Don.)Lindl.
                                                                                 
Botanical References                                         
1160200
                                                                                 
Links / References                                         

  [K] Ken Fern Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.

[1]F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaces in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
[11]Bean. W. Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
[46]Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants.
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
[50]? Flora Europaea
An immense work in 6 volumes (including the index). The standard reference flora for europe, it is very terse though and with very little extra information. Not for the casual reader.
[60]Hitchcock. C. L. Vascular Plants of the Pacific Northwest.
A standard flora for Western N. America with lots of information on habitat etc. Five large volumes, it is not for the casual reader.
[61]Usher. G. A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man.
Forget the sexist title, this is one of the best books on the subject. Lists a very extensive range of useful plants from around the world with very brief details of the uses. Not for the casual reader.
[78]Sheat. W. G. Propagation of Trees, Shrubs and Conifers.
A bit dated but a good book on propagation techniques with specific details for a wide range of plants.
[80]McMillan-Browse. P. Hardy Woody Plants from Seed.
Does not deal with many species but it is very comprehensive on those that it does cover. Not for casual reading.
[81]Rushforth. K. Conifers.
Deals with conifers that can be grown outdoors in Britain. Good notes on cultivation and a few bits about plant uses.
[82]Sargent. C. S. Manual of the Trees of N. America.
Two volumes, a comprehensive listing of N. American trees though a bit out of date now. Good details on habitats, some details on plant uses. Not really for the casual reader.
[113]Dirr. M. A. and Heuser. M. W. The Reference Manual of Woody Plant Propagation.
A very detailed book on propagating trees. Not for the casual reader.
[161]Yanovsky. E. Food Plants of the N. American Indians. Publication no. 237.
A comprehensive but very terse guide. Not for the casual reader.
[169]Buchanan. R. A Weavers Garden.
Covers all aspects of growing your own clothes, from fibre plants to dyes.
[183]Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
[185]Mitchell. A. F. Conifers in the British Isles.
A bit out of date (first published in 1972), but an excellent guide to how well the various species of conifers grow in Britain giving locations of trees.
[200]Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
[213]Weiner. M. A. Earth Medicine, Earth Food.
A nice book to read though it is difficult to look up individual plants since the book is divided into separate sections dealing with the different medicinal uses plus a section on edible plants. Common names are used instead of botanical.
[226]Lauriault. J. Identification Guide to the Trees of Canada
Very good on identification for non-experts, the book also has a lot of information on plant uses.
[229]Elias. T. The Complete Trees of N. America. Field Guide and Natural History.
A very good concise guide. Gives habitats, good descriptions, maps showing distribution and a few of the uses. It also includes the many shrubs that occasionally reach tree proportions.
[245]Genders. R. Scented Flora of the World.
An excellent, comprehensive book on scented plants giving a few other plant uses and brief cultivation details. There are no illustrations.
[257]Moerman. D. Native American Ethnobotany
Very comprehensive but terse guide to the native uses of plants. Excellent bibliography, fully referenced to each plant, giving a pathway to further information. Not for the casual reader.

Readers comment                                         
 
George S.
Aug 11 2013 12:00AM
I have two Grand Firs on my property close to the house. The problem is that they are covered in Yellow Jackets from morning to night this August {2013}. None of my Doug Firs attracts them with a shiny sap on their needles. These Grand Firs appear to be feeding the Jackets and pose a real threat to us. We have trapped hundreds of Yellow Jackets so far this year but has had no impact on the size of the colony. This is a particularly bad year for wasps and may be only a periodic phenomena. However, I do not recommend you plant Grand Firs on your property due to their being a natural Yellow Jacket attractant.
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