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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 FIRST NATIONS USES

Subalpine fir pitch and bark were used for medicine and the inner bark was eaten raw by some groups. Boughs and branches were used for bedding and for covering floors.

MODERN 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