Very tall and narrow in form, subalpine fir looks like a green church spire. A cone-bearing evergreen tree with green needles that have a bluish cast, it is native from the Yukon of Canada southward in the Rocky Mountains to northern Arizona and New Mexico in the United States. Its bark is gray to nearly white, smooth but mildly bumpy.
The short but flattened needles whorl around the tree's twigs. They are dark green but covered in a bluish-white film (called a bloom). In early summer, male cones appear among the needles and shed their pollen. Carried by the wind, the pollen reaches the female cones in the upper tree branches and then causes the cones to become a lovely purple before ripening to brown. (info source: Learn2Grow.com)
The shoot tips are used as a tea substitute. The cones can be ground into a fine powder, then mixed with fat and used as a confection. It is said to be a delicacy and an aid to the digestion. The resin from the trunk is used as a chewing gum. It is said to treat bad breath. Inner bark. No more information is given, but inner bark is often dried, ground into a powder and then used with cereal flours when making bread etc.
Seeds are very small and fiddly to use. Seeds of this genus are generally oily with a resinous flavour and can be eaten raw or cooked.
Genus - Abies
Species - Lasiocarpa
Common name - Alpine Fir
Pre-Treatment - Required
Hardiness zones - 5 - 7
Height - 70'-90' / 21 - 27m
Spread - 10'-15' / 3 - 5m
Plant type - Tree
Vegetation type - Deciduous
Exposure - Full Sun, Partial Sun
Growth rate - Medium
Soil PH - Acidic, Neutral
Soil type - Clay, Loam, Sand, Well Drained
Water requirements - Drought Tolerant, Average Water
Landscape uses - Feature Plant
Germination rate - 70%
Leaf / Flower color - Dark Green / --
Abies seeds need to be "overwintered" or stratified before they will germinate.
1. Soak overnight in warm water.
2. Then pre-chill (stratify) for 30 days. Seeds can be stratified in dampened peat, sand or moist vermiculite , in a plastic box or bag at 4°C or 5°C in a refrigerator. The seeds should not be frozen or in a wet medium.
Seed can be sown in early February in a greenhouse or outdoors in March. Normally will only germinate with light, but the stratification (described above) can help to increase the germination rate.
Sow Abies seeds 2-4 mm deep in the seed sowing mix.
Abies seeds will usually germinate in 21-40 days if overwintered and stratified or about 6 - 8 weeks if sown directly