Subalpine Fir

Abies lasiocarpa

Photo: Nancy Turner

Subalpine Fir

APPEARANCE

The subalpine fir can grow to be up to 50 metres tall, with short and thick branches. The smooth grey bark has resin bubbles.

RANGE & HABITAT

Subalpine fir is found mainly in the interior and Rocky mountains. In B.C. it is also common in the Cascade Mountains and B.C.’s coastal range. At high elevations (near the tree line) it is a small stunted tree.

LIFE CYCLE

This tree has small bluish cones, which stick straight up from the branches. As they fall apart, the seeds disperse, leaving the central part of the cone still on the tree.

ANIMAL USES

Subalpine fir is an important tree for animal habitat in B.C.’s interior and high elevation forests. Caribou will eat lichens off the tree’s branches.

TRADITIONAL USES BY INDIGENOUS PEOPLES

Subalpine fir pitch and bark have been used for medicine and the inner bark has been eaten raw by some groups. Boughs and branches can be used for bedding and for covering floors.

OTHER USES

In B.C. it is harvested to make into lumber, boxes and pulp.

STATUS

COSEWIC: Not at Risk
CDC: Yellow

MORE INFORMATION

www.for.gov.bc.ca

Photo: Nancy Turner