The grand fir is true to its name, standing up to 40 metres tall, a grand tree indeed. The bark is ash grey and has sappy blisters that ooze out strong smelling thick liquid. The needles are flat and have a blunt tip which, when crushed, smell like grapefruit.
RANGE & HABITAT
This tree can grow in the shade, but likes the lower elevation habitat of the Cascade mountains. It cannot be found north of the southern interior valleys.
Grand firs have greenish-yellow cones that sit upright on the branches. They open when they are ripe and release seeds with large wings. The seeds are carried by the wind to their new homes. A grand fir can live for at least 250 years.
Many small mammals such as squirrels, chipmunks, mice, and shrews eat the seeds of the grand fir, while bears prefer the young trees, which they scratch to get to the soft inside.
TRADITIONAL USES BY INDIGENOUS PEOPLES
The sappy resin that comes from the blisters in the bark an be used as a toothpase, a glue, and to prevent infection to minor cuts and bites. The Secwepemc, Okanagan, and St’at’imc all use the tree for various sicknesses and therefore call it the ‘medicine tree’. The sap is made into a tea which was taken to cure tuberculosis and coughing. The nice smell of the tree is used as a bed lining and incorporated during washing.
Mainly used for plywood, pulp, beams, siding, posts, and boxes which are used in the construction of buildings.
COSEWIC: Not at Risk
Photo: Brent Miller