Overview

Brief Summary

Abies is a genus of between 48-55 species of evergreen conifers in the family Pinaceae, generally known as firs. They are found through much of North and Central America, Europe, Asia, and North Africa, occurring in mountains over most of the range. Nine species are native to North America. Firs are most closely related to the cedars (Cedrus). Douglas-firs are not true firs, but are instead of the genus Pseudotsuga.

All are trees, reaching heights of 10-80 m (30-260 ft) tall with trunk diameters of 0.5-4 m (2-12 ft) when mature. Firs can be distinguished from other members of the pine family by their needle-like leaves, attached to the twig by a base that resembles a small suction cup; and by erect, cylindrical cones 5-25 cm (2-10 in) long that disintegrate at maturity to release the winged seeds. Identification of the species is based on the size and arrangement of the leaves, the size and shape of the cones, and whether the bract scales of the cones are long and exserted, or short and hidden inside the cone.

Abies wood is lightweight and decays quickly, so the primary timber uses are for pulpwood and construction (plywood). Some species have bark or leaves produce oleoresins that are used to make turpentine, varnishes, and Canada balsam (used as a slide fixative) and in the manufacture of medicinal compounds. The resin is reported to have numerous medical uses, including as an antiseptic, diuretic, expectorant, and vasoconstrictor. Various species have found widespread commercial success as Christmas trees, as celebrated in Hans Christian Anderson's famous fairy tale, The Little Fir Tree (recited in this YouTube clip). A few species are highly prized ornamentals.

Some Abies species are widespread in boreal forests around the globe; in lower latitudes, they are generally found at high elevations. A. sibirica forms vast forests through northeastern Russia and Siberia and Turkestan. A. alba, silver fir, is an important timber tree in southern and central Europe. A. balsam is important in northeastern North America, where it forms large single-species stands or is one of the dominant species in several boreal forest types. The North American silver firs (A. amarabilis and A. alba) are important in the coastal rain forests of the Pacific Northwest. A. concolor (white fir), A. lasiocarpa (alpine fir), and A. grandis (grand fir) are also extensive distributed in the Pacific and Mountain-Desert regions.

Firs are moderately important to wildlife. The young trees are used as cover for mammals and nesting sites for birds. Deer and moose browse the leaves, sometimes extensively in winter. At least 8 species of songbirds and several mammal species eat the winged seeds.

(Burns and Honkala 1990, Harlow et al. 1991, Martin et al. 1951, PFAF 2011, Wikipedia 2011)

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, tech. coords. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods. Agriculture Handbook 654.
  • Harlow, W.M., E.S. Harrar, J.W. Hardin, and F.M. White. 1991. Textbook of Dendrology. 7th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill. Pp. 160–179.
  • Martin, A.C., H.S. Zim, and A.L. Nelson. 1951. American wildlife & plants a guide to wildlife food habits: the use of trees, shrubs, weeds, and herbs by birds and mammals of the United States. Prepared for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Dept. of Interior. New York: Dover. Pp. 292–3.
  • PFAF. 2011. Abies alba—Mill. Plants For A Future online database. Retrieved 20 November 2011 from http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Abies+alba.
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 p. Available online from http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm.
  • Wikipedia. 2010. "Fir." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 26 Apr 2010, 18:00 UTC. 7 May 2010. http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Fir&oldid=358452956.
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Ecology

Associations

Foodplant / sap sucker
Adelges nordmannianae sucks sap of live bud of Abies

In Great Britain and/or Ireland:
Plant / epiphyte
fruitbody of Aleurodiscus amorphus grows on dying branch (attached) of Abies
Other: major host/prey

Foodplant / mycorrhiza / ectomycorrhiza
fruitbody of Amanita ceciliae is ectomycorrhizal with live root of Abies
Remarks: Other: uncertain
Other: minor host/prey

Foodplant / saprobe
fruitbody of Amylostereum areolatum is saprobic on decayed wood of Abies

Plant / epiphyte
fruitbody of Amylostereum chailletii grows on dead, fallen log of Abies
Other: major host/prey

Plant / resting place / on
effuse colony of Antennatula dematiaceous anamorph of Antennatula pinophila may be found on twig of Abies

Plant / epiphyte
fruitbody of Antrodia xantha grows on decayed stump of Abies

Foodplant / internal feeder
larva of Asemum striatum feeds within dead under bark of Abies

Foodplant / saprobe
fruitbody of Auriscalpium vulgare is saprobic on decayed, buried or partly buried cone of Abies
Remarks: Other: uncertain

Foodplant / saprobe
fruitbody of Baeospora myosura is saprobic on decayed, often partly buried cone of Abies

Foodplant / mycorrhiza / ectomycorrhiza
fruitbody of Boletus subappendiculatus is ectomycorrhizal with live root of Abies
Remarks: Other: uncertain

Plant / resting place / within
immersed pseudothecium of Botryosphaeria abietina may be found in needle of Abies

Foodplant / mycorrhiza / ectomycorrhiza
Caloscypha fulgens is ectomycorrhizal with live root of Abies
Remarks: season: Spring
Other: uncertain

Foodplant / saprobe
stipitate, solitary or gregarious apothecium of Ciboria rufofusca is saprobic on fallen, rotting, stromatised cone scale of Abies

Foodplant / internal feeder
larva of Cryphalus abietis feeds within cambium of Abies

Foodplant / internal feeder
larva of Cryphalus piceae feeds within cambium of Abies

Animal / parasite
Cryptocline coelomycetous anamorph of Cryptocline effusa parasitises live Abies

Foodplant / parasite
mainly epiphyllous, subepidermal then erumpent pseudothecium of Delphinella abietis parasitises living needle of Abies
Remarks: season: 3-5

Foodplant / saprobe
immersed, often loosely grouped perithecium of Diaporthe eres is saprobic on wood of Abies

Foodplant / internal feeder
larva of Dryocoetes autographus feeds within cambium of Abies

Foodplant / internal feeder
larva of Dryophilus pusillus feeds within wood of Abies

Foodplant / parasite
fruitbody of Ganoderma applanatum parasitises live trunk of Abies
Other: minor host/prey

Plant / associate
Heringia is associated with aphid infested Abies

Foodplant / mycorrhiza / ectomycorrhiza
fruitbody of Hygrophorus pustulatus is ectomycorrhizal with live root of Abies
Remarks: Other: uncertain

Foodplant / internal feeder
larva of Hylurgops palliatus feeds within cambium of Abies

Foodplant / saprobe
fruitbody of Hymenochaete cruenta is saprobic on dead, fallen branch of Abies

Foodplant / saprobe
fruitbody of Hyphodontia arguta is saprobic on dead, decayed wood of Abies
Other: minor host/prey

Foodplant / saprobe
fruitbody of Hyphodontia pallidula is saprobic on dead, fallen, decayed wood of Abies

Foodplant / saprobe
fruitbody of Hyphodontia subalutacea is saprobic on dead, fallen, decaying wood of Abies
Other: minor host/prey

Foodplant / saprobe
fruitbody of Hypholoma marginatum is saprobic on dead, decayed woodships of Abies

Foodplant / mycorrhiza / ectomycorrhiza
fruitbody of Inocybe calamistrata is ectomycorrhizal with live root of Abies
Remarks: Other: uncertain
Other: major host/prey

Foodplant / internal feeder
larva of Ips typographus feeds within cambium of Abies

Foodplant / saprobe
fruitbody of Ischnoderma benzoinum is saprobic on dead, fallen trunk (large) of Abies

Foodplant / internal feeder
larva of Judolia sexmaculata feeds within exposed root of Abies

Foodplant / mycorrhiza / ectomycorrhiza
fruitbody of Lactarius rufus is ectomycorrhizal with live root of Abies
Remarks: Other: uncertain

Foodplant / mycorrhiza / ectomycorrhiza
fruitbody of Lactarius salmonicolor is ectomycorrhizal with live root of Abies
Remarks: Other: uncertain
Other: major host/prey

Plant / associate
Laricobius erichsoni is associated with Abies

Foodplant / sap sucker
Leptoglossus occidentalis sucks sap of unripe seed of Abies

Foodplant / saprobe
fruitbody of Leptosporomyces galzinii is saprobic on dead, decayed wood of Abies
Other: major host/prey

Foodplant / saprobe
fruitbody of Leucogyrophana romellii is saprobic on dead, decayed wood of Abies

Foodplant / saprobe
stromatic, immersed, up to 20 per stroma perithecium of Leucostoma kunzei is saprobic on dead branch of Abies
Remarks: season: 12-1
Other: minor host/prey

Foodplant / saprobe
effuse colony of Mariannaea anamorph of Mariannaea elegans is saprobic on wood of Abies

Foodplant / gall
mycelium of Melampsorella caryophyllacearum causes gall of stem of Abies

Plant / associate
larva of Melangyna quadrimaculata is associated with Adelgid-infected Abies

Foodplant / parasite
pycnium of Milesina dieteliana parasitises live Abies

Plant / associate
larva of Myrmedobia distinguenda is associated with dead, fallen needle of Abies

Foodplant / saprobe
in small groups, erumpent on thin stroma perithecium of Nectria pinea is saprobic on dead branch of Abies
Remarks: season: 9-5
Other: minor host/prey

Foodplant / saprobe
perithecium of Nectria viridescens is saprobic on bark of Abies
Remarks: season: 9-5

Foodplant / open feeder
larva of Pachynematus montanus grazes on needle of Abies

Foodplant / open feeder
larva of Pachynematus scutellatus grazes on needle of Abies

Foodplant / saprobe
subepidermal, exposed by splitting apothecium of Phacidium abietinum is saprobic on decaying needle of Abies
Remarks: season: 5-8

Foodplant / saprobe
fruitbody of Pholiota squarrosa is saprobic on relatively freshly cut, white rotted stump of Abies
Other: unusual host/prey

Foodplant / saprobe
densely scattered, erumpent pycnidium of Phomopsis coelomycetous anamorph of Phomopsis pithya is saprobic on dead bark of Abies

Foodplant / saprobe
conidioma of Pilidium coelomycetous anamorph of Pilidium acerinum is saprobic on fallen, dead needle of Abies
Remarks: season: 9-5

Foodplant / internal feeder
larva of Pityogenes chalcographus feeds within cambium of Abies

Foodplant / internal feeder
larva of Pityogenes quadridens feeds within cambium of Abies

Foodplant / feeds on
Polydrusus pilosus feeds on Abies
Other: major host/prey

Foodplant / saprobe
fruitbody of Postia balsamea is saprobic on dead, decayed wood of Abies
Other: major host/prey

Foodplant / internal feeder
larva of Prionus coriarius feeds within moribund root of Abies

Foodplant / open feeder
larva of Pristiphora abietina grazes on needle of Abies

Foodplant / open feeder
larva of Pristiphora ambigua grazes on needle of Abies

Foodplant / open feeder
larva of Pristiphora amphibola grazes on needle of Abies

Foodplant / open feeder
larva of Pristiphora compressa grazes on needle of Abies

Foodplant / open feeder
larva of Pristiphora saxsenii grazes on needle of Abies

Foodplant / open feeder
larva of Pristiphora subarctica grazes on needle of Abies

Foodplant / saprobe
fruitbody of Ramaria abietina is saprobic on dead, fallen, decayed needle of litter of Abies
Other: major host/prey

Foodplant / internal feeder
larva of Rhagium bifasciatum feeds within dead wood of Abies

Foodplant / saprobe
superficial, clustered, hypophyllous pycnidium of Rhizosphaera coelomycetous anamorph of Rhizosphaera kalkhoffii is saprobic on dead needle of Abies
Remarks: season: late winter to early spring

Foodplant / saprobe
fruitbody of Skeletocutis nivea is saprobic on dead, fallen, decayed stick of Abies
Other: unusual host/prey

Foodplant / saprobe
fruitbody of Stereum sanguinolentum is saprobic on dead, fallen, decayed wood of Abies
Other: major host/prey

Foodplant / saprobe
effuse colony of Sterigmabotrys dematiaceous anamorph of Sterigmatobotrys macrocarpa is saprobic on dead wood of Abies

Foodplant / internal feeder
larva of Stictoleptura rubra feeds within dead wood of Abies

Foodplant / saprobe
immersed, becoming erumpeny conidioma of Strasseria coelomycetous anamorph of Strasseria geniculata is saprobic on dead twig of Abies
Remarks: season: 1-5

Foodplant / internal feeder
larva of Tetropium gabrieli feeds within wood of Abies

Foodplant / internal feeder
larva of Tomicus minor feeds within cambium of Abies
Other: minor host/prey

Foodplant / internal feeder
larva of Tomicus piniperda feeds within cambium of Abies
Other: minor host/prey

Foodplant / saprobe
Tubulicrinis subulatus is saprobic on dead, decayed wood of Abies
Other: minor host/prey

Foodplant / internal feeder
larva of Xylechinus pilosus feeds within cambium of Abies

Foodplant / saprobe
larva of Xylota coeruleiventris is saprobic on sap run of Abies

Foodplant / saprobe
larva of Xylota segnis is saprobic on sap run and decaying sap of Abies

Foodplant / saprobe
larva of Xylota sylvarum is saprobic on wet, decaying root of Abies

Foodplant / internal feeder
larva of Xyloterus lineatus feeds within cambium of Abies

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD) Stats
Specimen Records:366
Specimens with Sequences:587
Specimens with Barcodes:523
Species:55
Species With Barcodes:54
Public Records:250
Public Species:54
Public BINs:0
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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Abies sp.

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 4
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Barcode data

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Wikipedia

Fir

For other uses, see FIR (disambiguation).
"Fir Tree" redirects here. For the County Durham town, see Fir Tree, County Durham.

Firs (Abies) are a genus of 48–55 species of evergreen coniferous trees in the family Pinaceae. They are found through much of North and Central America, Europe, Asia, and North Africa, occurring in mountains over most of the range. Firs are most closely related to the genus Cedrus (cedar). Douglas firs are not true firs, being of the genus Pseudotsuga.

They are large trees, reaching heights of 10–80 m (33–262 ft) tall and trunk diameters of 0.5–4 m (1 ft 8 in–13 ft 1 in) when mature. Firs can be distinguished from other members of the pine family by the unique attachment of their needle-like leaves and by their different cones.

Identification of the different species is based on the size and arrangement of the leaves, the size and shape of the cones, and whether the bract scales of the cones are long and exserted, or short and hidden inside the cone.

Leaves[edit]

A. alba - the underside of leaves with 2 whitish strips formed by wax-covered stomatal bands
A. grandis foliage - upper side of the leaves
Atypical A. alba foliage from Dinaric calcareous fir forests on Mt. Orjen

Firs can be distinguished from other members of the pine family by the unique attachment of their needle-like leaves to the twig by a base that resembles a small suction cup.

The leaves are significantly flattened, sometimes even looking like they are pressed, as in A. sibirica.

The leaves have 2 whitish strips on the bottom, each of which is formed by wax-covered stomatal bands. The upper surface of the leaves usually is uniformly green and shiny, without stomata or only with few at their tips, visible as whitish spots. Some of the species however have the upper surface of leaves dull, gray-green, bluish-gray to silvery, coated by wax with variable number of stomatal bands, and not always continuous. An example species with shiny green leaves is A. alba, and an example sepcies with dull waxy leaves is A. concolor.

The tips of leaves are usually more or less notched (as in A. firma), but sometimes rounded or dull (as in A. concolor, A. magnifica) or sharp and prickly (as in A. bracteata, A. cephalonica, A. holophylla). The leaves of young plants are usually sharper.

The way they spread from the shoot is very diverse, only in some species comb-shaped, with the leaves arranged on two sides, flat (A. alba) [2]

Cones[edit]

Intact and disintegrated Bulgarian fir cones
Immature cones of some of species or races are green, not purple-bluish. Manchurian fir.
Disintegrating cones of Manchurian fir

Firs differ from other conifers in having erect, cylindrical cones 5–25 cm (2.0–9.8 in) long that disintegrate at maturity to release the winged seeds.

In contrast to spruces, even large fir cones do not hang, but are raised like candles.

Mature cones are usually brown, young in summer can be green, for example:

A. grandis, A. holophylla, A. nordmanniana

or purple and blue, sometimes very dark:

A. fraseri, A. homolepis (var. umbellata green), A. koreana ('Flava' green), A. lasiocarpa, A. nephrolepis (f. chlorocarpa green), A. sibirica, A. veitchii (var. olivacea green). [2]

Classification[edit]

  • Section Amabilis (Pacific coast mountains, North America and Japan, in high rainfall mountains)
A. fabri, Sichuan, China
A. magnifica, California, USA

Uses and ecology[edit]

Wood of most firs is considered unsuitable for general timber use, and is often used as pulp or for the manufacture of plywood and rough timber. Because this genus has no insect or decay resistance qualities after logging, it is generally recommended for construction purposes as indoor use only (e.g. indoor drywall on framing). This wood left outside cannot be expected to last more than 12 to 18 months, depending on the type of climate it is exposed to. It is commonly referred to by several different names, including North American timber, SPF (spruce, pine, fir) and whitewood.

Nordmann fir, noble fir, Fraser fir and balsam fir are popular Christmas trees, generally considered to be the best for this purpose, with aromatic foliage that does not shed many needles on drying out. Many are also decorative garden trees, notably Korean fir and Fraser fir, which produce brightly coloured cones even when very young, still only 1–2 m (3.3–6.6 ft) tall. Other firs can grow anywhere between 30 and 236 feet (9.1 and 71.9 m) tall. Fir Tree Appreciation Day is June 18.

Firs are used as food plants by the caterpillars of some Lepidoptera species, including Chionodes abella (recorded on white fir), autumnal moth, conifer swift (a pest of balsam fir), the engrailed, grey pug, mottled umber, pine beauty and the tortrix moths Cydia illutana (whose caterpillars are recorded to feed on European silver fir cone scales) and C. duplicana (on European silver fir bark around injuries or canker).

Abies spectabilis or Talispatra is used in Ayurveda as an antitussive drug.[citation needed]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Schorn, Howard; Wehr, Wesley (1986). "Abies milleri, sp. nov., from the Middle Eocene Klondike Mountain Formation, Republic, Ferry County, Washington". Burke Museum Contributions in Anthropology and Natural History 1: 1–7. 
  2. ^ a b Seneta, Włodzimierz (1981). Drzewa i krzewy iglaste (Coniferous trees and shrubs) (in Polish) (1st ed.). Warsaw: Państwowe Wydawnictwo Naukowe (PWN). ISBN 83-01-01663-9. 

Bibliography[edit]

Philips, Roger. Trees of North America and Europe, Random House, Inc., New York ISBN 0-394-50259-0, 1979.

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