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Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Divisio: Tracheophyta
Divisio: Pinophyta
Classis: Pinopsida
Ordo: Pinales

Familia: Pinaceae
Genus: Abies
Sectiones: A. sect. AbiesA. sect. AmabilisA. sect. Balsamea – – – – A. sect. NobilisA. sect. OiamelA. sect. PiceasterA. sect. Pseudopicea Sectiones: A. sect. Abies - A. sect. Balsamea - A. sect. Grandis - A. sect. Piceaster - A. sect. Momi - A. sect. Amabilis - A. sect. Pseudopicea - A. sect. Oiamel - A. sect. Nobilis - A. sect. Bracteata - A. sect. MomiA. sect. GrandisA. sect. Bracteata

Species: A. alba – A. amabilis – A. balsamea – A. beshanzuensis – A. borisii-regis – A. bracteata – A. cephalonica – A. chensiensis – A. cilicica – A. coahuilensis – A. concolor – A. delavayi – A. densa – A. durangensis – A. fabri – A. fanjingshanensis – A. fargesii – A. firma – A. flinckii – A. fordei – A. forrestii – A. fraseri – A. gamblei – A. grandis – A. guatemalensis – A. hickelii – A. hidalgensis – A. holophylla – A. homolepis – A. jaliscana – A. kawakamii – A. koreana – A. lasiocarpa – A. magnifica – A. mariesii – A. nebrodensis – A. neodurangensis – A. nephrolepis – A. nordmanniana – A. numidica – A. pindrow – A. pinsapo – A. procera – A. recurvata – A. religiosa – A. sachalinensis – A. sibirica – A. spectabilis – A. squamata – A. veitchii – A. vejarii – A. yuanbaoshanensis – A. ziyuanensis

Nothospecies: A. × insignis – A. × umbellata – A. × vasconcellosiana – A. × vilmorinii

Palaeospecies: †A. milleri

Abies Mill., Gard. Dict. Abr, ed. 4. (1754).

Lectotype species: Abies alba Mill. (1768), designated by N.L. Britton A. Brown, Ill. Fl. N.U.S. ed. 2. 1: 63 (1913).


Picea D.Don ex Loud., Arbor. Fruticet. Britt. 4: 2329. 1838, nom. illeg. non A.Dietr. (1824).
Peuce Rich., Ann. Mus. Hist. Nat. 16: 298 (1810).

Primary references

Miller, P. 1754. The Gardeners Dictionary. Abridged. Ed. 4, Vol. 1–3 (unpaged). John & James Rivington, London. DOI: 10.5962/bhl.title.79061 Reference page.

Additional references

Britton, N.L. & Brown, A. 1913. An illustrated flora of the northern United States, Canada and the British possessions: from Newfoundland to the parallel of the southern boundary of Virginia, and from the Atlantic Ocean westward to the 102d meridian. ed. 2. C. Scribner's sons, New York. Vol. 1: 63. Reference page.
Farjon, A. & Rushforth, K.D. 1989. A classification of Abies Miller (Pinaceae). Notes from the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh 46(1): 59–79. PDF Reference page.


Govaerts, R. et al. 2020. Abies in World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2020 Oct. 28. Reference page. (not accepting A. coahuilensis, A. fordei, A. gamblei, A. neodurangensis)
Hassler, M. 2004–2021. World Plants. Synonymic Checklist and Distribution of the World Flora. Version 11.3; last update Jan 11, 2021. Accessed 26 Jan 2021 (accepting A. coahuilensis, A. fordei, A. gamblei, A. neodurangensis at infraspecific level)

Vernacular names
العربية: شوح
azərbaycanca: Ağ şam
Boarisch: Taunn
беларуская (тарашкевіца): Піхта
беларуская: Піхта
български: Ела
བོད་ཡིག: སོམ་ཤིང་།
bosanski: Jela
català: Avet
čeština: Jedle
dansk: Ædelgran
Deutsch: Tannen
dolnoserbski: Jedła
Ελληνικά: Ελάτη
English: True Firs
Esperanto: Abio
español: Abeto
eesti: Nulg
euskara: Izei
فارسی: نراد
suomi: Pihdat
Nordfriisk: Tanen
français: Sapin
galego: Abeto
Gaelg: Juys
עברית: אשוח
hrvatski: Jele
hornjoserbsce: Jědla
Kreyòl ayisyen: Sapen
magyar: Jegenyefenyő, bálványfenyő
Ido: Abieto
italiano: Abeti
日本語: モミ属
ქართული: სოჭი
қазақша: Самырсын
한국어: 전나무속
коми: Ньыв
lietuvių: Kėnis
latviešu: Baltegles
македонски: Ела
монгол: Жодоо
кырык мары: Пӹзӹлмӹгож
Nederlands: Zilverspar
norsk nynorsk: Edelgran
norsk: Edelgran
Ирон: Соцъи
polski: Jodła
português: Abeto
Runa Simi: Awitu
română: Brad
русский: Пихта
slovenčina: Jedľa
slovenščina: Jelka
shqip: Bredhi
српски / srpski: Јела
svenska: Ädelgranar
Türkçe: Göknar
українська: Ялиця
Tiếng Việt: Chi Linh sam
West-Vlams: Denne
ייִדיש: יאָדלע
中文: 冷杉属

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.

The genus name is derived from the Latin "to rise" as a reference to their height.[2] The common English name originates with the Old Norse, fyri, or the Old Danish, fyr.[3]

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.


A. alba – the underside of leaves have two whitish strips formed by wax-covered stomatal bands; the bases of the needles are shaped like suction cups.

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 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) [4][clarification needed]

Intact and disintegrated Bulgarian fir cones

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

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, fir cones do not hang. Even large fir cones grow upwards like "candles", the new growth of the tree.

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).[4]

Section Abies

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

Abies alba – silver fir
Abies nebrodensis – Sicilian fir
Abies borisii-regis – Bulgarian fir
Abies cephalonica – Greek fir
Abies nordmanniana – Nordmann fir or Caucasian fir
Abies nordmanniana subsp. equi – trojani – Kazdağı fir, Turkish fir
Abies nordmanniana subsp. bornmülleriana – Uludağ fir
Abies pinsapo – Spanish fir
Abies pinsapo var. marocana – Moroccan fir
Abies numidica – Algerian fir
Abies cilicica – Syrian fir

Section Balsamea

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

Abies fraseri – Fraser fir
Abies balsamea – balsam fir
Abies balsamea var. phanerolepis – bracted balsam fir
Abies lasiocarpa – subalpine fir
Abies lasiocarpa var. arizonica – corkbark fir
Abies lasiocarpa var. bifolia – Rocky Mountains subalpine fir
Abies sibirica – Siberian fir
Abies sibirica var. semenovii
Abies sachalinensis – Sakhalin fir
Abies koreana – Korean fir
Abies nephrolepis – Khinghan fir
Abies veitchii – Veitch's fir
Abies veitchii var. sikokiana – Shikoku fir

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.

Abies kawakamii – Taiwan fir
Abies homolepis – Nikko fir
Abies recurvata – Min fir
Abies recurvata var. ernestii – Min fir
Abies firma – Momi fir
Abies beshanzuensis – Baishanzu fir
Abies holophylla – Manchurian fir
Abies chensiensis – Shensi fir
Abies chensiensis subsp. salouenensis – Salween fir
Abies pindrow – Pindrow fir
Abies ziyuanensis – Ziyuan fir

Section Amabilis

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

Abies amabilis – Pacific silver fir
Abies mariesii – Maries' fir

Section Pseudopicea
A. fabri, Sichuan, China

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

Abies delavayi – Delavay's fir
Abies delavayi var. nukiangensis
Abies delavayi var. motuoensis
Abies delavayi subsp. fansipanensis
Abies fabri – Faber's fir
Abies fabri subsp. minensis
Abies forrestii – Forrest's fir
Abies densa – Bhutan fir
Abies spectabilis – East Himalayan fir
Abies fargesii – Farges' fir
Abies fanjingshanensis – Fanjingshan fir
Abies yuanbaoshanensis – Yuanbaoshan fir
Abies squamata – flaky fir

Section Oiamel

Section Oiamel is found in central Mexico at high altitudes.

Abies religiosa – sacred fir
Abies hickelii – Hickel's fir
Abies hickelii var. oaxacana – Oaxaca fir

Section Nobilis
A. magnifica, California, USA

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

Abies procera – noble fir
Abies magnifica – red fir
Abies magnifica var. shastensis – Shasta red fir

Section Bracteata

Section Bracteata (California coast)

Abies bracteata – bristlecone fir

Section Incertae sedis

Section Incertae sedis

†Abies milleri – (Extinct) Early Eocene[1]

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). Firwood 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 .[5] [6]

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.[7][8]

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.
Coombes, Allen J. (2012). The A to Z of plant names : a quick reference guide to 4000 garden plants (1st ed.). Portland, Or.: Timber Press. p. 23. ISBN 978-1-60469-196-2. OCLC 741564356.
"fir | Origin and meaning of fir by Online Etymology Dictionary". Retrieved 2020-10-01.
Seneta, Włodzimierz (1981). Drzewa i krzewy iglaste (Coniferous trees and shrubs) (in Polish) (1st ed.). Warsaw: Państwowe Wydawnictwo Naukowe (PWN). ISBN 978-83-01-01663-0.
Groth, Jacob (10 November 2000). "Monarch Migration Study". Swallowtail Farms. Retrieved 21 July 2014.
"Monarch Migration". Monarch Joint Venture. 2013.
Schar, Douglas (2015). "Douglas Fir, Pseudotsuga menziesii". Archives. Doctor Schar. Retrieved 2015-10-04.

Kershaw, Linda (2000). Edible and Medicinal Plants of the Rockies. Edmonton, AB: Lone Pine Publishing. p. 26. ISBN 978-1-55105-229-8.

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

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