Distinctive Perennials

Ornamental Grasses


Wreaths & Gifts




type of tree

Sub-Alpine Fir

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Species Name

Sub-Alpine Fir (Abies Lasiocarpa)

Seed Source

San Isabel National Forest


Slower growing than some sources, but hardier with richer green upper needle surface and strong silver underside.


Will tolerate most soils


Has appearance of a lush, Balsam Fir. Slightly upward-turned needles display silvery underside to excellent effect, dependent upon seed source. Dense needles are pale blue-green and long. Slow starter, performs better with minimal weed competition. Narrow, pyramidal form. Makes a very beautiful, distinctive Christmas tree but tends to be quite slow-growing. Very popular as landscape trees, where slow growth is more easily excusable for its attractive appearance.






Has performed well even on windy, exposed, north-west slopes with average soils and moisture.


As a mature tree, it is a high-altitude tree with a narrow, spire-like crown and branches sweeping nearly to the ground. Where it grows at tree line in the mountains, it may be stunted, contorted and form a dense, matted growth.

The Sub- Alpine fir closely resembles the more eastern balsam fir. The bark is smooth, grey and covered with resin blisters when young, later becoming scaly. This is the only true fir in the Northwest Territories. The needles are flat and two-sided. The cones grow upright on the branches. They mature at the end of the first season and promptly disintegrate, leaving a slender, spike-like stalk. The male and female cones are on the same tree. When they ripen in September, the seeds are a favourite food for red squirrels. Ruffed grouse eat the needles and buds. True to its name, the subalpine fir naturally occurs just below the timberline in mountain forests of the west and southwest of North America.

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