We need to raise £10,000 from user donations to get our finances in balance. More >>>

Follow Us:

 

Abies - Mill.

Common Name Silver Fir, Christmas Tree Fir, European Silver Fir, Silver
Family Pinaceae
USDA hardiness 5-8
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Forests in mountains, 1000 - 1600 metres.
Range C. and S. Europe
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (4 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (3 of 5)
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Full shade Semi-shade Full sun
Abies Silver Fir, Christmas Tree Fir, European Silver Fir, Silver


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Crusier
Abies Silver Fir, Christmas Tree Fir, European Silver Fir, Silver

 

Translate this page:

You can translate the content of this page by selecting a language in the select box.

Summary

Form: Columnar.


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of cone
Abies is an evergreen Tree growing to 45 m (147ft) by 15 m (49ft) at a fast rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 4 and is not frost tender. It is in leaf all year, in flower from April to May, and the seeds ripen from September to October. The species is monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant) and is 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. It cannot tolerate atmospheric pollution.

Synonyms

A. pectinata. A. picea.

Habitats

Edible Uses

Inner bark - cooked. It is dried, ground into a powder and then used as a thickening in soups etc or mixed with cereals when making bread[105, 177].

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.



The buds are antibiotic, antiseptic and balsamic[7]. The bark is antiseptic and astringent[7]. It can be harvested as required throughout the year[238]. The leaves are expectorant and a bronchial sedative[7]. They are best harvested in the spring and can be dried for later use[238]. The resin is antiseptic, balsamic, diuretic, eupeptic, expectorant, vasoconstrictor and vulnerary[7]. Both the leaves and the resin are common ingredients in remedies for colds and coughs, either taken internally or used as an inhalant[238]. The leaves and/or the resin are used in folk medicine to treat bronchitis, cystitis, leucorrhoea, ulcers and flatulent colic[268]. The resin is also used externally in bath extracts, rubbing oils etc for treating rheumatic pains and neuralgia[238]. Oil of Turpentine, which is obtained from the trunk of the tree, is occasionally used instead of the leaves or the resin. The oil is also rubefacient and can be applied externally in the treatment of neuralgia[268].

Other Uses

An oleo-resin is obtained from blister-like swellings in the bark[64, 100]. It is harvested in the summer and used fresh, dried or distilled for oil[238]. The resin extracted from it is used in perfumery, medicine and for caulking ships[46, 61, 64, 100]. It is called 'Strasburg Turpentine'[46]. Oil of turpentine is an important solvent in the paint industry[238]. The residue, known as 'rosin oil', is used in making varnishes, lacquers and carbon black (for pigments and ink)[238]. Resin is tapped from trees about 60 - 80 years old in the spring and used for the distillation of oil[238]. An essential oil obtained from the leaves is used as a disinfectant and also in medicine and perfumery[46, 61]. It is a common ingredient in many bath products, giving them their familiar pine scent[7]. The bark is a source of tannin[7]. Wood - light, soft, durable, elastic. The timber of this tree is especially sought after for its lightness, it is used for construction, furniture, boxes, pulp etc[7, 46, 61, 89, 101].

Cultivation details

Landscape Uses:Screen, Specimen. Prefers a good moist but not water-logged soil[1] though it tolerates most soils except infertile sands and peats[11, 81]. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Prefers a slightly acid soil, with a pH down to about 5, and a north-facing slope[200]. Plants are very shade tolerant and this species has often been used to underplant in forests[11, 81], but growth is slower in dense shade[81]. Intolerant of atmospheric pollution[1]. Requires a generous rainfall and a sheltered position[11, 81]. Intolerant of windy sites[81]. The silver fir is a very hardy plant when dormant but it comes into growth in April and is then susceptible to damage by late frosts and aphis[185, 238]. This species is particularly subject to aphis infestation in many parts of the country[11], and is also prone to dieback and rust caused by fungal infections[238]. Trees are slow growing for the first few years but from the age of around 6 years growth accelerates and height increases of 1 metre a year are not uncommon[185]. Grows best in moist valleys in Scotland[11] and in S.W. England where it often self-sows. This species also thrives in E. Anglia[17]. Another report says that this species is not happy in the hot, dry, Lower Thames Valley, and does not thrive in many low-lying and frosty parts of southern England[11]. It has been planted as a timber tree in northern and western Europe[50]. It is also commonly used as a 'Christmas tree'[61, 200]. This tree is notably resistant to honey fungus[11, 81, 200]. Trees should be planted into their permanent positions when they are quite small, preferably 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]. Unlike most species of conifers, this tree can be coppiced and will regenerate from the stump[126]. Plants are strongly outbreeding, self-fertilized seed usually grows poorly[200]. They hybridize freely with other members of this genus[200]. The cultivar 'Pendula' used to be widely planted for ornament, shelter and timber but because it is now susceptible to damage by Adelges nordmannianae it is seldom planted. Research is going on (1975) to find provenances that are resistant[185]. Special Features:Not North American native, There are no flowers or blooms.

image

The PFAF Bookshop

Plants For A Future have a number of books available in paperback and digital form. Book titles include Edible Plants, Edible Perennials, Edible Trees, and Woodland Gardening. Our new book to be released soon is Edible Shrubs.

Shop Now

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].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

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
Abies albaSilver Fir, Christmas Tree Fir, European Silver Fir, Silver23
Abies amabilisRed Fir,Pacific silver fir12
Abies balsameaBalsam Fir35
Abies cephalonicaGrecian Fir00
Abies concolorColorado Fir, White fir02
Abies delavayi 00
Abies firmaMomi Fir, Japanese Fir10
Abies fraseriShe Balsam, Fraser fir, Southern Balsam Fir13
Abies grandisGrand Fir, Giant Fir, Lowland White Fir22
Abies homolepisNikko Fir00
Abies lasiocarpaSubalpine Fir, Alpine Fir22
Abies magnificaCalifornian Red Fir, Shasta red fir00
Abies mariesii 00
Abies nordmannianaCaucasian Fir, Christmas Tree Fir, Nordmann00
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
Abies veitchii sikokiana 00
Picea abiesNorway Spruce21

 

Print Friendly and PDF

Expert comment

Author

Mill.

Botanical References

1150200

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here

Readers comment

QR Code

What's this?

This is a QR code (short for Quick Response) which gives fast-track access to our website pages. QR Codes are barcodes that can be read by mobile phone (smartphone) cameras. This QR Code is unique to this page. All plant pages have their own unique code. For more information about QR Codes click here.

1. Copy and print the QR code to a plant label, poster, book, website, magazines, newspaper etc and even t-shirts.

2. Smartphone users scan the QR Code which automatically takes them to the webpage the QR Code came from.

3. Smartphone users quickly have information on a plant directly for the pfaf.org website on their phone.

Add a comment

If you have important information about this plant that may help other users please add a comment or link below. Only comments or links that are felt to be directly relevant to a plant will be included. If you think a comment/link or information contained on this page is inaccurate or misleading we would welcome your feedback at admin@pfaf.org. If you have questions about a plant please use the Forum on this website as we do not have the resources to answer questions ourselves.

* Please note: the comments by website users are not necessarily those held by PFAF and may give misleading or inaccurate information.

To leave a comment please Register or login here All comments need to be approved so will not appear immediately.

Subject : Abies  
All the information contained in these pages is Copyright (C) Plants For A Future, 1996-2012.
Plants For A Future is a charitable company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales. Charity No. 1057719, Company No. 3204567,
Web Design & Management
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License. Some information cannot be used for commercial reasons or be modified (but some can). Please view the copyright link for more information.