Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Colorado Fir, Concolor Fir, White Fir, Silver Fir, Balsam Fir, White Balsam
Abies concolor

Family: Pinaceae (py-NAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Abies (A-bees) (Info)
Species: concolor (KON-kol-or) (Info)

Synonym:Abies concolor var. lowiana
Synonym:Abies concolor subsp. lowiana
Synonym:Abies lowiana
Synonym:Picea concolor
Synonym:Pinus concolor

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4 members have or want this plant for trade.

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over 40 ft. (12 m)

15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:


Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse
From seed; stratify if sowing indoors
By grafting

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

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By Todd_Boland
Thumbnail #1 of Abies concolor by Todd_Boland

By Kelli
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By sladeofsky
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By Xenomorf
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By Xenomorf
Thumbnail #5 of Abies concolor by Xenomorf

By SleepyFox
Thumbnail #6 of Abies concolor by SleepyFox

By Rickwebb
Thumbnail #7 of Abies concolor by Rickwebb

There are a total of 8 photos.
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5 positives
3 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive coriaceous On Jan 4, 2015, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

Commonly planted here in southern New England, this is the best fir for the midwestern and eastern N. America. The best forms are as blue as Colorado blue spruce, but are less disease prone here and softer to the touch. Retains its lower branches to the ground if properly spaced.

Tolerates air pollution and city conditions. Dislikes heavy clay, but it's otherwise adaptable as to soil as long as it's well-drained.

Positive Rickwebb On Dec 21, 2013, Rickwebb from Downingtown, PA wrote:

It is a reliable conifer for the Chicago, IL and Philadelphia, PA, areas. Sold by many larger nurseries in those areas. Grows around 1 ft/yr. Softer than the much more popular Colorado Spruce.

Neutral Gingerpeter On Apr 30, 2012, Gingerpeter from Southsea UK
United Kingdom wrote:

I bought this plant in a Garden centre because it looked nice - rather pathetic reason but I fascinated by it. We live at Sea level and the climate is best described as very damp. The tree is producing large very light green "flowers" from the end of nearly every branch and many pine cones, they are small yet but obviously going to get quite large - if it ever stops raining I'll post a picture.

Neutral ogon On Aug 26, 2011, ogon from Paradise, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

Abies concolor var. lowiana is a a variety of White Fir that has a natural range including the Cascades of central Oregon and through the Sierra Nevada and Klamath Range of CA and parts of Nevada, and down to northern parts of Baja California, Mexico. It is generally much taller than than the species, reaching 120-180ft at maturity. It also has more lightly glacous leaves than the species.

Positive Xenomorf On Aug 13, 2009, Xenomorf from Valley of the Sun, AZ (Zone 9b) wrote:

This fir tree gets about 150 ft. tall with the trunk getting to 3.5 ft. thick. The thick bark is deeply furrowed and dark gray. The cones grow upright in the top part of the tree, are about 5" long and grayish green. They stay in the tree after releasing the seeds. The flat needles spread out, are curved upward, are silverish or pale blue-green and get to about3" long. It grows in Spruce-fir and Ponderosa forests at about 5500-9000 ft. elevation. The young trees grow into the shape of a pyramid if not inhibited by other plants surrounding it. The cones grow on the lower branches in early summer and springtime and with the help of the wind, pollenate the female cones in the top of the tree. The porcupines chew on the bark and the seeds get eaten by mammals and birds. Amongst other places in Arizona, this tree can be found in the Black Canyon Lake vicinity.
It is native to AZ, CA, CO, ID, MA, ME, NM, NV, OR, UT & WY in the USA.

Positive macluraspine On Apr 29, 2005, macluraspine from Marlinton, WV wrote:

perfect for full sun and loamy soil. grows about as fast, or faster than, red pine. branches all the way to the ground if given space. needles smell like tangerines (taste not as sweet). has a long taproot, so it is very drough tollerant and difficult to uproot in high winds. best fir for zones 5-7 but cold tollerant down to zone 3. better choice than some of the pines and spruces for landscape use due to dense form and extreme weather tolerance. will not like shale or heavy clay soil and does not like wet feet.

Positive WalterT On Sep 22, 2004, WalterT from San Diego, CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

This beautiful tree grows on several San Diego County, California, peaks at around 6,000 feet elevation. It is the classic christmas tree, but of course, cannot be collected from our national forests or state parks.
Unfortunately, many fine specimens were burned in the fires of 2003.

Neutral smiln32 On Sep 21, 2004, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

White Fir (Abies concolor) is not at its best where the summer temperatures commonly range above 100 degrees F. It grows very slowly. It is called White Fir because of its white bark.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Flagstaff, Arizona
Prescott, Arizona (2 reports)
San Diego, California
Beulah, Colorado
Boise, Idaho
Moscow, Idaho
Aurora, Illinois
Urbana, Illinois
Crestwood, Kentucky
Roslindale, Massachusetts
Columbus, Ohio
Downingtown, Pennsylvania
Orem, Utah
Suffolk, Virginia
Marlinton, West Virginia

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