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Brief Summary

    Fir: Brief Summary
    provided by wikipedia
    For other uses, see FIR (disambiguation) and FIRS (disambiguation). "Fir Tree" redirects here. For other uses, see Fir Tree (disambiguation).

    Firs (Abies) are a genus of 48–56 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 with 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 way in which their needle-like leaves are attached singly to the branches with a base resembling a suction cup, and by their cones, which, like those of true cedars (Cedrus), stand upright on the branches like candles and disintegrate at maturity.

    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.

    Brief Summary
    provided by EOL authors
    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)

Comprehensive Description

    Fir
    provided by wikipedia
    "Fir Tree" redirects here. For other uses, see Fir Tree (disambiguation).

    Firs (Abies) are a genus of 48–56 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 with 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 way in which their needle-like leaves are attached singly to the branches with a base resembling a suction cup, and by their cones, which, like those of true cedars (Cedrus), stand upright on the branches like candles and disintegrate at maturity.

    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

    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 two whitish lines on the bottom, each of which is formed by wax-covered stomatal bands. In most species, the upper surface of the leaves is uniformly green and shiny, without stomata or with a few on the tip, visible as whitish spots. Other species have the upper surface of leaves dull, gray-green or bluish-gray to silvery (glaucous), 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 species 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][clarification needed]

    Cones

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      Intact and disintegrated Bulgarian fir cones

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      Immature cones of some of species or races are green, not purple-bluish: for instance, Manchurian fir.

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      Disintegrating cones of Manchurian fir

    Firs differ from other conifers in having erect, cylindrical cones 5–25 cm (2–10 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

    Section Abies

    Section Abies is found in central, south, and eastern Europe and Asia Minor.

    Section Balsamea

    Section Balsamea is found in northern Asia and North America, and high mountains further south.

    Section Grandis

    Section Grandis is found in western North America to Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, in lowlands in the north, moderate altitudes in south.

    • Abies grandis—grand fir or giant fir
      • Abies grandis var. grandis—Coast grand fir
      • Abies grandis var. idahoensis—interior grand fir
    • Abies concolor—white fir
      • Abies concolor subsp. concolor—Rocky Mountain white fir or Colorado white fir
      • Abies concolor subsp. lowiana—Low's white fir or Sierra Nevada white fir
    • Abies durangensis—Durango fir
      • Abies durangensis var. coahuilensis—Coahuila fir
    • Abies flinckii—Jalisco fir
    • Abies guatemalensis—Guatemalan fir
      • Abies guatemalensis var. guatemalensis
      • Abies guatemalensis var. jaliscana
    • Abies vejarii

    Section Momi

    Section Momi is found in east and central Asia and the Himalaya, generally at low to moderate altitudes.

    Section Amabilis

    Section Amabilis is found in the Pacific Coast mountains in North America and Japan, in high rainfall areas.

    Section Pseudopicea

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    A. fabri, Sichuan, China

    Section Pseudopicea is found in the Sino-Himalayan mountains at high altitudes.

    Section Oiamel

    Section Oiamel is found in central Mexico at high altitudes.

    Section Nobilis

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    A. magnifica, California, USA

    Section Nobilis (western U.S., high altitudes)

    Section Bracteata

    Section Bracteata (California coast)

    Section Incertae sedis

    Section Incertae sedis

    Uses and ecology

    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 in construction purposes for indoor use only (e.g. indoor drywall on framing). Fir wood left outside cannot be expected to last more than 12 to 18 months, depending on the type of climate it is exposed to.

    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.

    Abies religiosa—sacred fir, is the overwinter host for the monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus). This insect species migrates from central and north United States and south Canada to Central Mexico (Michoacán and Estado de Mexico). During the fall migration, monarchs cover thousands of miles, with a corresponding multi-generational return north. The western North American population of monarchs west of the Rocky Mountains often migrates to sites in southern California but has been found in overwintering Mexican sites as well.[3] [4]

    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 (cough suppressant) drug.[5][6]

    References

    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..mw-parser-output cite.citation{font-style:inherit}.mw-parser-output q{quotes:"""""'"'"}.mw-parser-output code.cs1-code{color:inherit;background:inherit;border:inherit;padding:inherit}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-free a{background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/65/Lock-green.svg/9px-Lock-green.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-registration a{background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d6/Lock-gray-alt-2.svg/9px-Lock-gray-alt-2.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-subscription a{background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/aa/Lock-red-alt-2.svg/9px-Lock-red-alt-2.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration{color:#555}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription span,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration span{border-bottom:1px dotted;cursor:help}.mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{display:none;font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error{font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration,.mw-parser-output .cs1-format{font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-left{padding-left:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-right{padding-right:0.2em}
    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.
    3. ^ Groth, Jacob (10 November 2000). "Monarch Migration Study". Swallowtail Farms. Retrieved 21 July 2014.
    4. ^ "Monarch Migration". Monarch Joint Venture. 2013.
    5. ^ Schar, Douglas (2015). "Douglas Fir, Pseudotsuga menziesii". Archives. Doctor Schar. Retrieved 2015-10-04.
    6. ^ Kershaw, Linda (2000). Edible and Medicinal Plants of the Rockies. Edmonton, AB: Lone Pine Publishing. p. 26. ISBN 978-1-55105-229-8.