E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Abies amabilis (Douglas ex Loudon) Douglas ex Forbes
amabilis fir (Pacific silver fir)
Pinaceae (Pine family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Virginia Skilton  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #80932)

E-Flora BC Static Map
Distribution of Abies amabilis
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This is a tall, evergreen, coniferous tree species found from Alaska south to northern California in forests with deep, well-drained soils.

Species Information

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Tall, straight tree, up to 55 m tall, with dense cylindric or conical crown; bark grey to nearly white, smooth but becoming scaly with age, with resin blisters; branches flattened and spray-like.
Needles flattened, blunt and mostly notched at the tip; shiny, dark green and grooved above, having two distinct silvery bands of stomata and ridged below; spreading to somewhat erect needles 1.5-3 cm long; strongly appressed needles on upper surface of twig 0.7-2 cm.
Seed cones erect, deep purple, 8-10 (15) cm long, 3.5-4 (5) cm thick, the bracts deciduous; pollen cones reddish.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

USDA Species Characteristics

Flower Colour:
Blooming Period:
Late Spring
Fruit/Seed characteristics:
Colour: Brown
Present from Summer to Fall
Source:  The USDA

Habitat / Range

Moist to mesic forests with deep, well-drained soils in the lowland to subalpine zones; common in and W of Coast-Cascade Mountains, except Queen Charlotte Islands; N to SE AK and S to N CA.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Abies amabilis

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 0 588 2400
Slope Gradient (%) 0 27 410
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 259 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 4 8
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: AT(2), CMA(2), CWH(2223), ESSF(178), ICH(105), IDF(16), MH(522), MS(60), SBPS(1), SBS(5)

Ecological Indicator Information

A very shade-tolerant, submontane to subalpine, Western North American evergreen conifer distributed more in the Pacific than the Cordilleran region (absent on Queen Char­lotte Islands). Occurs in maritime to sub maritime sub-alpine boreal and summer-wet cool mesothermal climates on fresh to very moist soils; its occurrence increases with increasing elevation and precipi­tation, and decreases with increasing latitude and continentality. Grows in pure or mixed-species stands (usually with western or mountain hemlock) on water-shedding and water-receiving sites. Regenerates underneath closed­canopy stands, particularly on mycorrhizal Mors. (The mycorrhizae may explain this species' tolerance of nutrient-poor sites.) Most productive on submontane, fresh to moist, nutrient-rich (seepage) sites within wet cool mesothermal climates. Characteristic of wet maritime forests.

SourceIndicator Plants of Coastal British Columbia (Information applies to coastal locations only)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is subalpine boreal & cool mesothermal.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References