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ABIES amabilis

Image of Abies amabilis

Family

Pinaceae

Botanical Name

ABIES amabilis

Plant Common Name

Pacific Silver Fir

Special Notice

This entry has yet to be reviewed and approved by L2G editors.

General Description

A very tall, spire-like evergreen in the wild, the Pacific silver fir remains much shorter and more pyramidal in form when grown in gardens. Native to the panhandle of Alaska southward to Victoria Island and western Oregon's Cascade range, this fir prospers where summers are moist and cool and winters cold and snowy. The bark is light gray and smooth but with age, the trunk displays plates floating on an underbark of reddish brown.

New branch shoots emerge at right angles in opposite pairs, initially covered in beige hairs. The needles occur densely on branch tips, angled slightly forward and the flattened needles curl upward slightly like eyelashes on sun-basked branches. Needle undersides are silvery white. Male cones are reddish to golden red, contrasting the upright female cones that are larger and cylindrical. Mature seed cones are purplish gray then finally brown, often with globs of resin.

Young Pacific silver firs look like upright narrow pyramids and over decades become tall and flat-topped with remaining branches looking like tiers. Grow it in deep, fertile, acidic soils that are evenly moist but well-drained. Organic matter improves growth as well as keeps the soil shaded and cool during summer. Full sun to partial shade locations are fine. This fir is a coastal forest tree and may be used as a specimen in a park or garden or as a windbreak. Interestingly, Pacific silver fir trees readily retain needles for 20 years, and up to 50 years before shedding some foliage isn't uncommon.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    6 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    6 - 8

  • Sunset Zone

    A3, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 15, 16, 17

  • Plant Type

    Needled or Scaled Evergreen

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun, Partial Shade

  • Height

    20'-100' / 6.1m - 30.5m (50)

  • Width

    12'-20' / 3.7m - 6.1m (15)

  • Native To

    Northwestern United States, Alaska, Canada

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Pyramidal

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    None

  • Fruit Color

    Purple, Brown

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Light Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Dark Green

  • Bark Color

    Gray

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    Yes

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    Yes

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Fine

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Platy

  • Usage

    Feature Plant, Screening / Wind Break

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    No