General: Usually straight tree, seldom over 35 m tall (up to 50 m in some areas), with distinctly spire-shaped crown; bark grey, smooth, with resin blisters, becoming somewhat ridged with age; branches not spray-like; a common tree-line species, in stunted form.
Leaves: Needles flattened, blunt and usually notched at the tip; bluish-green, flat above, ridged beneath, having stomata on both sufaces; (2) 2.5-3 (4) cm long, tending to curve upwards, not horizontally spreading.
Cones: Seed cones erect, deep purple, 6-10 (11) cm long, 3-3.5 cm thick, the bracts deciduous; pollen cones bluish. Note: In the recently published Flora of North America, Hunt (1993) recognized Abies lasiocarpa as occurring only along the coast with the interior populations assigned to Abies bifolia. Differences between the two occur in the wood chemistry, lack of crystals in ray parenchyma in A. bifolia, shape of basal bud scales, and color of the periderm. However, introgression occurs throughout most of BC, thus hybrid populations predominate. The only unique populations of A. lasiocarpa are in coastal Alaska. Due to the introgression in BC and the relatively minor morphological differences between the two taxa, we include A. bifolia within A. lasiocarpa.
A shade-tolerant to shade-intolerant, montane to subalpine, Western North American evergreen conifer distributed less in the Pacific than the Cordilleran region. Occurs predominantly in continental boreal climates; its occurrence increases with both elevation and continentality. Grows in mixed -species stands (usually with Engelmann spruce, Pacific silver fir, or mountain hemlock) on leeward slopes of Vancouver Island and Coastal Mountain Ranges. There are occasional pure stands at high elevations on exposed outcrops of baserich rocks, or on valley bottoms affected by cold air drainage. On sites where it is shadetolerant, it regenerates under closed-canopy stands, particularly on mycorrhizal Mors. (The mycorrhizae here may explain its tolerance of nutrient-poor soils.) Most productive on montane, fresh to moist, nutrient-rich (seepage) sites within wet cool temperate climates. Characteristic of continental boreal forests.
Recommended citation: Author, Date. Page title. In Klinkenberg, Brian. (Editor) 2020. E-Flora BC:
Electronic Atlas of the Plants of British Columbia [eflora.bc.ca]. Lab for
Advanced Spatial Analysis, Department of Geography, University of British
Columbia, Vancouver. [Accessed:
2021-05-09 7:45:01 PM
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