White Fir

 Abies Concolor, White Fir in Yosemite National Park.

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Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Abies_concolor_Yosemite_NP.jpg

Latin (group) name: Abies
Latin (specific) name: Abies Concolor (Gordon and Glendening) Hoopes
Average max height: 100' to 150
Average diameter: 20" to 40"
Associated state: none
Category: American Woods
The Softwoods - Conifers

The Tree

White Fir, so called because of the ashy hue of its bark, is one of ten native firs in the United States. It is considered the most important. It is a massive, low-branched, heavily-foliaged tree, 100 to 150 feet high with a diameter of 20 to 40 inches. On old, mature trees the ashy-gray bark may be four to six inches thick, deeply furrowed and hard. Fortunately, it is quite fire-resistant. The needles are flat and thick, blunt-pointed, and yellowish-green in color with a bluish cast on the younger trees which later turns to a pale yellow green with a whitish tinge. The needles are borne spirally, pointed upward on the upper branchlets, and are from one to three inches long. The short cones, three to five inches long, are smoothly scaled and stand erect on the higher twigs. They are a pale olive green with an ashen tinge or sometimes a chrome yellow green color. The resin “bleeding” from the tree is said to have medicinal properties.

white fir cones
White Fir cones
white fir tree bark
White Fir tree bark
white fir forest
White Fir forest California

White Fir (Oregon)
White Fir (Oregon) pg. 71 American Woods, Schoonover

Common Names in Use

  • White Fir (Calif., Oreg., Idaho., Utah., Colo., and trade)
  • Balsam (Calif., Colo., Utah)
  • Balsam Fir (Calif., Oreg., Idaho., Colo., and trade)
  • Balsam-tree (Idaho)
  • Bastard Pine (Utah)
  • Black Gum (Utah)
  • Blue Fir (Colo.)
  • California White Fir (Calif)
  • Colorado Silver Fir (lit.)
  • Colorado White Fir (Colo., Calif., lit.)
  • Concolor Silver Fir (Eng., lit.)
  • Silver Fir (Calif., Colo.)
  • White Balsam (Utah)

Growth Range

The natural growth range of White Fir extends principally along the Pacific Coast and interior mountain ranges in more or less scattered stands from southern Oregon throughout the southwest and as far east as central Colorado and New Mexico. Small stands are also found in Washington, western Montana, Idaho and southward through Arizona and central Mexico.

The Wood

The wood of White Fir is moderately soft and stiff, fine-textured, straight-grained, non-resinous and almost white in color with indistinguishable sapwood. It works easily with tools, is easily glued, and holds nails and screws fairly well.

white fir slab
White Fir slab


The principal use of White Fir is for paper pulp. The lumber is used for general building construction, boxes, crates, planing mill products, sash, doors, frames, sheathing, and because of the absence of odor or taste and freedom from stain, for food containers.


  • Shelley E. Schoonover (American Woods) 1951 (Watling & Co. ) Santa Monica, CA 

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Page last modified on Sunday July 24, 2022 16:58:42 PDT by admin.