Abies alba - European White Fir

  • Posted on: 10 August 2017

A common and most easily met fir species of Europe, not counted Abies sibirica that occurs widely in the vast lands of eastern-northeastern Europe (bordered by the Ural mountains). 

Abies alba occurs in the Alps (300–1800 m) and the other mountains of central Europe reaching the East Carpathians (1100–1500 m), the Balkan Peninsula (300–1950 m), central Poland (140+ m) and westward, the Massif Central and the hills of Normandy in France, the Pyrenees (<2100 m), to the south the Apennines (<1950 m) and Corsica (<1800 m). Of conifers, it typically associates with Picea abiesLarix deciduaPinus sylvestris, also with Juniperus communis var. saxatilis, and P. mugo subsp. uncinata.

Populations in Bulgaria and probably in Albania are referred to Abies borisii-regis, a southeastern relative. Another species related to Abies alba is the Sicilian Fir, Abies nebrodensis.

It can grow into a large tree (with literature references given as up to 65 m and 3.2 m trunk diameter) with rather light gray bark, straight trunk, light gray branchlets, needles up to 3.5 cm long (usually to 2.5 cm) and cones up to 15 (rarely 20) cm long.