name = "Abies" - firs
fossil_range = Fossil range|49|0cite journal|author=Shorn, Howard|author2=Wehr, Wesley| date=1986| title=Abies milleri, sp. nov., from the Middle Eocene Klondike Mountain Formation, Republic, Ferry County, Washington| journal=Burke Museum Contributions in Anthropology and Natural History| volume=1 | pages = 1-7|]

image_width = 230px
image_caption = Korean Fir ("Abies koreana") cone and foliage
regnum = Plantae
divisio = Pinophyta
classis = Pinopsida
ordo = Pinales
familia = Pinaceae
genus = "Abies"
genus_authority = Mill.
subdivision_ranks = Species
subdivision = See text

Firs ("Abies") are a genus of between 45-55 species of evergreen conifers in the family Pinaceae. All are trees, reaching heights of 10-80 m (30-260 ft) tall and trunk diameters of 0.5-4 m (2-12 ft) when mature. Firs can be distinguished from other members of the pine family by their needle-like leaves, attached to the twig by a base that resembles a small suction cup; and by erect, cylindrical cones 5-25 cm (2-10 in) long that disintegrate at maturity to release the winged seeds. Identification of the species is based on the size and arrangement of the leaves, the size and shape of the cones, and whether the bract scales of the cones are long and exserted, or short and hidden inside the cone. They are most closely related to the cedars ("Cedrus"). Firs are found through much of North and Central America, Europe, Asia, and North Africa, occurring in mountains over most of the range.

Firs are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including "Chionodes abella" (recorded on White Fir), Autumnal Moth, Conifer Swift (a pest of Balsam Fir), The Engrailed, Grey Pug, Mottled Umber and Pine Beauty.

Douglas-firs are not true firs, being of the genus "Pseudotsuga".


* Section "Balsamea" (Taiga|boreal Asia and North America, and high mountains further south)
**"Abies fraseri" - Fraser Fir
**"Abies balsamea" - Balsam Fir
***"Abies balsamea" var. "phanerolepis" - Bracted Balsam Fir
**"Abies bifolia" - Rocky Mountains Subalpine Fir
**"Abies lasiocarpa" - Coast Range Subalpine Fir
***"Abies lasiocarpa" var. "arizonica" - Corkbark Fir
**"Abies sibirica" - Siberian Fir
**"Abies sachalinensis" - Sakhalin Fir
**"Abies koreana" - Korean Fir
**"Abies nephrolepis" - Khinghan Fir
**"Abies veitchii" - Veitch's Fir
***"Abies veitchii" var. "sikokiana" - Shikoku Fir

* Section "Grandis" (western North America to Mexico and Guatemala, lowlands in north, moderate altitudes in south)
**"Abies grandis" - Grand Fir or Giant Fir
***"Abies grandis" var. "idahoensis" - Interior Grand Fir or Giant Fir
**"Abies concolor" - White Fir
***"Abies concolor" subsp. "lowiana" - Low's White Fir
**"Abies durangensis" - Durango Fir
***"Abies durangensis" var. "coahuilensis" - Coahuila Fir
**"Abies flinckii" - Jalisco Fir
**"Abies guatemalensis" - Guatemalan Fir

* Section "Abies" (central, south & east Europe, Asia Minor)
**"Abies nebrodensis" - Sicilian Fir
**"Abies alba" - Silver Fir
**"Abies borisii-regis" - Bulgarian Fir
**"Abies cephalonica" - Greek Fir
**"Abies nordmanniana" - Nordmann Fir or Caucasian Fir
***"Abies nordmanniana" subsp. "equi-trojani" - Kazdağı Fir, Turkish Fir
***"Abies nordmanniana" subsp. "bornmülleriana" - Uludağ Fir
**"Abies cilicica" - Cilician Fir, Taurus Fir

* Section "Piceaster" (southern Spain, northwest Africa)
**"Abies pinsapo" - Spanish Fir
***"Abies pinsapo" var. "marocana" - Moroccan Fir
**"Abies numidica" - Algerian Fir

* Section "Momi" (east & central Asia, Himalaya, generally at low to moderate altitudes)
**"Abies kawakamii" - Taiwan Fir
**"Abies homolepis" - Nikko Fir
**"Abies recurvata" - Min Fir
***"Abies recurvata" var. "ernestii" - Min Fir
**"Abies firma" - Momi Fir
**"Abies beshanzuensis" - Baishanzu Fir
**"Abies holophylla" - Manchurian Fir
**"Abies chensiensis" - Shensi Fir
***"Abies chensiensis" subsp. "salouenensis" - Salween Fir
**"Abies pindrow" - Pindrow Fir
**"Abies ziyuanensis" - Ziyuan Fir

* Section "Amabilis" (Pacific coast mountains, North America and Japan, in high rainfall mountains)
**"Abies amabilis" - Pacific Silver Fir
**"Abies mariesii" - Maries' Fir

* Section "Pseudopicea" (Sino-Himalayan mountains, at high altitude)
**"Abies delavayi" - Delavay's Fir
**"Abies fabri" - Faber's Fir
**"Abies forrestii" - Forrest's Fir
**"Abies chengii" - Cheng's Fir
**"Abies densa" - Bhutan Fir
**"Abies spectabilis" - East Himalayan Fir
**"Abies fargesii" - Farges' Fir
**"Abies fanjingshanensis" - Fanjingshan Fir
**"Abies yuanbaoshanensis" - Yuanbaoshan Fir
**"Abies squamata" - Flaky Fir

* Section "Oiamel" (Mexico, high altitudes in mountains)
**"Abies religiosa" - Sacred Fir
**"Abies vejarii" - Vejar's Fir
***"Abies vejarii" var. "mexicana" - Mexican Fir
**"Abies hickelii" - Hickel's Fir
***"Abies hickelii" var. "oaxacana" - Oaxaca Fir

* Section "Nobilis" (western USA, high altitudes)
**"Abies procera" - Noble Fir
**"Abies magnifica" - Red Fir
***"Abies magnifica" var. "shastensis" - Shasta Red Fir

* Section "Bracteata" (California coast)
**"Abies bracteata" - Bristlecone Fir

* Section incertae sedis
**"Abies milleri" - (Extinct) Early Eocene


The wood of most firs is considered unsuitable for general timber use, and is often used as pulp or for the manufacture of plywood and rough timber. Nordmann Fir, Noble Fir, Fraser Fir and Balsam Fir are very popular Christmas trees, generally considered to be the best trees for this purpose, with aromatic foliage that does not shed many needles on drying out. Many are also very decorative garden trees, notably Korean Fir and Fraser Fir, which produce brightly coloured cones even when very young, still only 1-2 m (3-6 ft) tall.


External links

* [ Gymnosperm Database - "Abies"]
* [ Arboretum de Villardebelle cone photos: Images of cones of selected species]

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  • Fir — (f[ e]r), n. [Dan. fyr, fyrr; akin to Sw. furu, Icel. fura, AS. furh in furhwudu fir wood, G. f[ o]hre, OHG. forha pine, vereheih a sort of oak, L. quercus oak.] (Bot.) A genus ({Abies}) of coniferous trees, often of large size and elegant shape …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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  • fir — [ fɜr ] noun count a tall tree with thin sharp leaves that do not fall off in winter. It produces brown woody fruits called cones and can be called a fir or a fir tree. a. uncount the wood of a fir tree …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

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