Abies nordmanniana, the Caucasian or Nordmann Fir, is a large, evergreen, coniferous tree in the Pinaceae (pine family), native to the mountains south and east of the Black Sea, in Turkey, Georgia, Russian Caucasus, Azerbaijan, and northern Armenia. It occurs at altitudes of 900–2,200 meters (2,925–7,150 feet) on mountains with annual rainfall of over 100 cm (39 inches). It forms extensive forests in northwestern Turkey, extending eastward through the Caucasus mountains.
Caucasian fir typically grows to 60 m tall, with a trunk diameter of up to 2 m. In the Western Caucasus Reserve, nominated as a World Heritage site, specimens with heights up to 85 meters (276 feet) have been reported—the tallest trees recorded in Europe. Caucasian fir has a narrow, dense, pyramidal crown, with branches all the way to the ground. It occurs in pure stands or mixed with deciduous species (primarily beech, Fagus sylvatica) or other conifers (spruce and pine species, including Picea orientalis, Pinus nigra, and P. sylvestris).
Some taxonomists include populations of A. bormuelleriana and A. equi-trojani from some regions of Turkey as subspecies, A. nordmanniana ssp. nordmanniana and A. nordmanniana ssp. equitrojani, respectively.
Caucasian fir wood is valued for timber, but timber harvests do not appear to have led to significant population declines. However, in some parts of its range of A. nordmanniana ssp. equitrojani is experiencing noticeable declines due to the effects of acid rain.
Caucasian fir has been planted as an ornamental in the United Kingdom since the 1800s, as an attractive but pollution-intolerant parkland tree, and finds use as a cemetery tree in France and northern Europe. Caucasian fir plantations have been used to anchor sand dune shorelines in Denmark. It is also valued and grown commercially as a Christmas tree for its fragrant, non-dropping needles. Various cultivars are planted in the U.S., including a dwarf variety with golden needles, A. nordmanniana ‘Golden Spreader,’ that grows to only 1 meter tall, but may spread to 3 meters across.
(Gymnosperm Database 2011, IUCN 1999, Kees and Gardner 2011, Landscape Architecture Blog 2011, PNW Plants Database 2011, Wikipedia 2011)
- Gymnosperm Database. 2011. Abies nordmanniana (Steven) Spach 1841. http://www.conifers.org/pi/Abies_nordmanniana.php.
- IUCN. 1999. World Heritage Nomination—IUCN Technical Evaluation, Western Caucaus (Russian Federation). International Union. Retrieved 6 December 2011 from http://whc.unesco.org/archive/advisory_body_evaluation/900.pdf.
- Kees, S. & Gardner, M. 2011. Abies nordmanniana. In: IUCN 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2. Retrieved 12 December 2011 from www.iucnredlist.org.
- Landscape Architecture Blog. 2011. Plant of the Week: Abies nordmanniana subsp. nordmanniana. Davis Landscape Architecture. http://davisla.wordpress.com/?s=abies+nordmanniana&submit=Search.
- PNW Plants Database. 2011. Golden Spreader Nordmann Fir. Washington State University, Clark County Extension, PNW Plants. Retrieved 11 December 2011 from http://pnwplants.wsu.edu/PlantDisplay.aspx?PlantID=344">http://pnwplants.wsu.edu/PlantDisplay.aspx?PlantID=344'>http://pnwplants.wsu.edu/PlantDisplay.aspx?PlantID=344.
- Wikipedia. 2011. "Abies nordmanniana." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 6 Jul 2011, 03:53 UTC. Retrieved 6 Dec 2011. http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Abies_nordmanniana&oldid=463673123.
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