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Abies amabilis

From Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Abies amabilis, or Pacific silver fir is a large evergreen conifer that grows up to 30–45 meters tall and has a trunk diameter of up to 1.2 m. Its bark is light grey, thin, and covered with resin blisters, while older trees darken and develop scales and furrows. The leaves are needle-like, flattened, and have a spiral leaf arrangement. The shoots are orange-red with dense velvety pubescence, and the cones are 9–17 cm long and 4–6 cm broad, dark purple before maturity. The winged seeds are released when the cones disintegrate at maturity about 6–7 months after pollination.

The tree can live to over 400 years old and is closely related to Maries' fir A. mariesii from Japan. It is native to the Pacific Northwest of North America, occurring in the Pacific Coast Ranges and the Cascade Range from the extreme southeast of Alaska, through western British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, to the extreme northwest of California. It grows from sea level to 1,000 m in the north and 610–2,000 m in the south.

Pacific silver fir is found in temperate rainforests with high precipitation and cool, humid summers, growing in dense stands and prospering in shade and snow. Common associate trees include western hemlock, Douglas-fir, and California buckeye. Although its thin bark makes it susceptible to fire, slow-growing saplings succeed less shade-tolerant species.

Indigenous Nations, including the Nuxalk, Haisla, and Kitasoo Nations, used Abies amabilis or Silver Fir for medicinal purposes and entered into nourishing relationships with this plant. Seeds were not brought to England for cultivation until the 19th century, with David Douglas responsible for transporting seed abroad in 1825. The soft and not very strong wood of Pacific silver fir was used for paper making, packing crates, and other cheap construction work.