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.
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.
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.
In B.C. it is harvested to make into lumber, boxes and pulp.
COSEWIC: Not at Risk
Photo: Nancy Turner