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Western White Fir (Abies concolor)

Western White Fir Western White Fir Needles Western White Fir Branches

Western White Fir (also known as Rocky Mountain White Fir, Colorado White Fir or simply White Fir) is native to the Oregon Cascades, the California Sierra's, and the Rocky Mountains from southern Idaho south to Arizona, New Mexico, and northern Mexico. A specimen of this species planted in 1966 can be seen in the Conifer Collection on the slope to the north of Arboretum Drive. In California it may grow as high as 140-180 ft, but in the Rockies its maximum height is on the order of 125 ft. Western White Fir has silvery blue-green, blunt tipped needles, 2-3 inches long, that curve upwards when mature. The gray to silvery-white bark is smooth in younger trees, but becomes deeply fissured in older ones. The seed cones are borne upright, a distinguishing characteristic of firs.

Native Americans used Western White Fir for such medicinal purposes as treating rheumatism, pulmonary problems, sores and boils, and cuts. Extracts have been shown to have anti-tumor activity, and resin collected from the bark was purportedly used to fill tooth cavities. The wood is used for plywood, paper pulp, crating, furniture, and to a limited extent for construction. Western White Fir is also a popular Christmas tree.

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University of Tennessee - Forest Resources AgResearch and Education Center
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