Fraser Fir

Fraser Fir (Abies fraseri )

The Fraser Fir (Abies fraseri ), also called Fraser fir, is a species of the genus of fir (Abies ) in the pine family ( Pinaceae ). It has natural occurrence in the southern Appalachian Mountains in eastern North America.

  • 5.1 Literature
  • 5.2 Notes and references



The Fraser Fir is reached by 50 centimeters, an evergreen tree, the plant height of 15 meters (sometimes 25 meters ) with a trunk diameter ( DBH ). The growth habit of the crown is narrow, cone- shaped and relatively open. The first-order branches are horizontal, the crown of tree out more ascending. Also horizontal to slightly ascending grow branches of the second order. The seedling has five cotyledons ( cotyledons ).

Bark, buds and needles

The bark of young trees is smooth and brown with resin bumps, with increasing age, it is gray and rough and scaly. The bark is pale yellowish to one-year branches brown, which is dark brown in the second year, it is slightly hairy serrated and reddish. The resinous buds of Fraser Fir are egg-shaped with a length of about 4 mm and a width of about 3 millimeters. The buds have a dark red color, but appear slightly yellowish due to the resin.

The straight needle-shaped leaves are 1-2 inches long and 2 to 2.2 mm wide, broadest below the blunt tip. Their color is dark green on the top, on the bottom are two distinctly separated by a center rib, white Stomatabänder. The needles grow in a spiral on the branches; rather comb-shaped lower, upward and bent forward, the upper needles.

Generative features

The Fraser fir is monoecious getrenntgeschlechtig ( monoecious ), which means that there is a copy on male and female cones. The male cones are frequently hanging, usually at branch tips, they are about 1 inch long and have a yellowish color with reddish pollen. The female cones stand upright in the tree crown. You are before ripening dark purple, then dark - brown to black. The female cones remain at maturity relatively small when the length of about 4-7 inches and a diameter of 3 inches and are oval to conical. The yellow- green bracts protrude so far as to cover the seed scales almost entirely. The blackish seeds are triangular and approximately 5 millimeters in size and have a also about 5 millimeters long, brownish wings.

Differences of a similar nature

The Fraser Fir is easily confused with the balsam fir, but has some differences:

  • Two consisting of eight to twelve lines stomatal bands, compared with only six lines in balsam fir;
  • Smaller cones in the Fraser Fir;
  • In balsam fir stands only the bracts on the top seed scales.


The Fraser Fir is native to the southern Appalachian Mountains in eastern North America, as, inter alia, in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The limited distribution area is located in the U.S. states of Tennessee, North Carolina and Virginia. There it grows at altitudes from 1200 to 2038 meters.

The Fraser fir grows on slopes and peaks of the Appalachian Mountains to slightly acidic podzols. The climate is mainly humid, with cool summers and cold and snowy winters. The annual precipitation ranges 850-2000 mm.

Along with the dominant American red spruce (Picea rubens ) is endemic to the region known as Fraser Fir a boreal spruce-fir forest. This is commonly found 1650-1900 meters on north-facing slopes. At higher altitudes, the Fraser Fir grows in pure stands. Chance are only Betula lutea, Sorbus americana and Acer spicatum here. Due to the high humidity there grow some lichens and mosses, for example Bazzania trilobata, Common fork -moss moss and sleep. In the shrub layer, blueberries find (Vaccinium erythrocarpum and V. pallidum ), a Bärlappart ( Lycopodium lucidulum ), Lilium grayi and worm ferns ( Dryopteris austriaca ).

In the Central and Northern Appalachia, the balsam fir replaced (Abies balsamea ), the Fraser Fir on their typical locations, partly because there the peaks are not as high as in the South Appalachians.

A 1900 immigrant from Europe Pflanzenlaus from the family of Adelgidae ( Adelges piceae engl. Balsam woolly adelgid ) reached 1957, the peaks of the Appalachian Mountains and has since let about 80 % of the Fraser fir trees die in their natural habitat. This louse triggers a reaction in which the sap flow is inhibited in the xylem. The infected wood then has a red color.


The first description of this kind took place in 1814 under the name Pinus fraseri by Frederick Traugott Pursh in Flora Americae Septentrionalis; or, ..., 2, pp. 639-640. Jean Louis Marie Poiret put this species under the name Abies fraseri in the genus Abies in the published in 1817 by Jean -Baptiste de Lamarck published Encyclopédie méthodique. Botanique, Supplément, 5 ( 1 ), pp. 35 more Abies fraseri synonyms for ( Pursh ) Poir. are: Pinus balsamea var fraseri ( Pursh ) Nutt, Abies humilis Bach, Picea fraseri ( Pursh ) Loudon, Abies balsamea ( L.) Mill var fraseri ( Pursh ) Spach, Abies americana Prov.. . non Mill, Picea balsamea (L.) Loudon var fraseri ( Pursh ) J.Nelson, Abies balsamea ( L.) Mill subsp. fraseri ( Pursh ) E.Murray.

The specific epithet fraseri and the trivial name Fraser Fir honor the Scottish plant collector John Fraser ( 1750-1811 ).

The former Abies fraseri to Abies fraseri var calculated variety hudsoniana ( Bosc ex Jacques) Carrière is now a synonym for Abies balsamea ( L.) Mill var balsamea.

The balsam fir (Abies balsamea ), the Fraser Fir is hybrid.


The Fraser Fir is used as an ornamental plant.

Described are the following varieties (selection):

  • ' Coerulea ' Carrière 1867 ( syn. ' Glauca ')
  • ' Compacta' Bailey 1933
  • ' Kline 's Nest ' Nurs. 1972
  • ' Prostrate ' SLKelsey 1916: A flat creeping variety with a height of about 80 centimeters.
  • ' Raul's Dwarf'
  • ' Verkade Prostrate ' Verkade Nurs. 1980