Amabilis fir

Abies amabilis
Amabilis fir Amabilis fir

A tall, straight tree with a dense cone-shaped crown. It can reach 50 metres when mature.

Amabilis fir leaves

Needles have blunt ends and are usually notched at the tip. They are dark green with a groove on the upper surface and have two silvery bands on the lower surface.

The needles are arranged in flattened, spray-like branches. The long needles spread horizontally from the bottom and sides of the twig while the shorter ones on the top point forward.

Amabilis fir cone
Seed cones are deep purple and are held upright on branches at the top of the tree. The cones fall apart while still on the tree, leaving a central spike that is visible into winter. Pollen cones are reddish.
Amabilis fir bark

Amabilis fir young bark
Young Bark

The bark is smooth and pale grey with blisters of pitch. It becomes scaly with age.

Where to find amabilis fir
It is usually found in coastal forests above 300 metres elevation. In the north, it may grow at sea level.

Amabilis fir thrives in a maritime climate, where it is common in moist forests on deep, well-drained soils. It is usually found in mixtures with western and mountain hemlock, yellow- cedar, and western redcedar. It is very tolerant of shade, and small trees often grow abundantly with black huckleberry and mountain-heathers.

Amabilis fir tolerates summer drought but depends on adequate moisture during the early growing season. Seedlings develop long roots that penetrate compact soil but the root system will grow horizontally on poorly drained soils.

Where to find amabilis fir

Boughs from both amabilis fir and grand fir provided floor coverings and bedding for aboriginal people.

Several coastal peoples used the firs medicinally. They boiled the bark with stinging nettle for a tonic and for bathing and treated colds with a tea made from the needles.Caution

The Nisga'a occasionally used it for house planks. Many native groups used it for firewood.

Because of its light weight and colour, its clean appearance and its lack of unpleasant odour, the wood is used for doors and windows, as well as furniture parts, mouldings and food containers.

Amabilis fir is also called Pacific silver fir because of the silvery underside of the needle. The botanical name amabilis means "lovely," an apt description for this species.

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