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.
1. Needles with stomata on both surfaces, blue-green and glaucous; branches not spray-like, leaves tending to curve upwards; trees with narrow crowns................Abies lasiocarpa
1. Needles with lines of white stomata on lower surface only, the upper surface green; branches mostly appearing spray-like, the leaves either all horizontally spreading or some spreading and the others depressed and pointing forward; trees with wide crowns.
2. Needles (2) 3-4 (5) cm long, nearly all horizontally spreading, the upper side of the twigs bare except for the twisted leaf bases; seed cones light green.........................Abies grandis
2. Needles mostly less than 2.5 cm long, the longer ones spreading horizontally, but others (usually shorter) strongly appressed and pointing forward on upper side of twig and more or less completely hiding the twigs; seed cones deep purple....................Abies amabilis
Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia
Habitat / Range
Moist to mesic slopes in the montane to alpine zones; common in BC in and E of Coast-Cascade Mountains, locally frequent on Vancouver Island; N to S AK and YT, E to SW AB and S to OR, N NV, AZ and NM.
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:
2021-10-16 10:15:12 AM
The information contained in the E-Flora atlas pages is derived from expert
sources as cited in each section. This information is scientifically based.
E-Flora also acts as a portal to other sites via deep links. As
always, users should refer to the original sources for complete information.
E-Flora BC is not responsible for the accuracy or completeness of the