Page authors: Don Knoke, David Giblin
Abies lasiocarpa
alpine fir, subalpine fir

Distribution: Occurring on both sides of the Cascades crest in Washington; Alaska to California, east to the Rocky Mountains.

Habitat: Subalpine to alpine slopes, where commonly in krumholtz form.

Cones: June-July

Origin: Native

Growth Duration: Perennial

Conservation Status: Not of concern

Pollination: Wind


A small tree, to 30 m. tall, with a narrow crown and short, stiff branches; at high elevations, dwarfed and shrub-like.


Bark thin, grayish, but brownish underneath; young twigs finely reddish-pubescent.


Needles bluish-green, 2.5-3 cm. long, blunt, tending to turn upward, the upper surface with a continuous white band, the lower surface with 2 narrow white bands separated by the mid-vein.


Staminate cones bluish, pendant and catkin-like, up to 10 mm. long, on the lower side of branches near the middle of the tree or above; ovulate cones only near the top of the tree, single and erect, deep purple, 6-10 cm. long and 3-3.5 cm. thick, the slender tips of the bracts projecting past the scales at time of pollination, later concealed.

Accepted Name:
Abies lasiocarpa (Hook.) Nutt.
Publication: N. Amer. Sylv. 3: 138. 1849.

Synonyms & Misapplications:
Abies balsamea (L.) Mill. ssp. lasiocarpa (Hook.) B. Boivin
Abies balsamea (L.) Mill. var. fallax (Engelm.) B. Boivin
Pinus lasiocarpa Hook.
Additional Resources:

PNW Herbaria: Specimen records of Abies lasiocarpa in the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria database

WA Flora Checklist: Abies lasiocarpa checklist entry

OregonFlora: Abies lasiocarpa information

E-Flora BC: Abies lasiocarpa atlas page

CalPhotos: Abies lasiocarpa photos

49 photographs:
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