Abies balsamea


Abies balsamea

Taxobox
name = Balsam Fir
status = LR/lc | status_system = IUCN2.3



image_width = 240px
image_caption = Tree with cones
regnum = Plantae
divisio = Pinophyta
classis = Pinopsida
ordo = Pinales
familia = Pinaceae
genus = "Abies"
species = "A. balsamea"
binomial = "Abies balsamea"
binomial_authority = (L.) Mill.
range_

range_map_width = 240px
range_map_caption = Range

The Balsam Fir ("Abies balsamea") is a North American fir, native to most of eastern and central Canada (Newfoundland west to central Alberta) and the northeastern United States (Minnesota east to Maine, and south in the Appalachian Mountains to West Virginia). [cite web |url=http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=ABBA |title=PLANTS Profile for Abies balsamea (balsam fir) | USDA PLANTS |accessdate=2007-07-17 |format= |work=]

It is a small to medium-size evergreen tree typically 14-20 m tall, rarely to 27 m tall, with a narrow conic crown. The bark on young trees is smooth, grey, and with resin blisters (which tend to spray when ruptured), becoming rough and fissured or scaly on old trees. The leaves are flat needle-like, 1.5-3 cm long, dark green above often with a small patch of stomata near the tip, and two white stomatal bands below, and a slightly notched tip. They are arranged spirally on the shoot, but with the leaf bases twisted to appear in two more-or-less horizontal rows. The cones are erect, 4-8 cm long, dark purple, ripening brown and disintegrating to release the winged seeds in September.

There are two varieties:
*"Abies balsamea" var. "balsamea" (Balsam Fir) - bract scales short, not visible on the closed cones. Most of the species' range.
*"Abies balsamea" var. "phanerolepis" (Bracted Balsam Fir or Canaan Fir) - bract scales longer, visible on the closed cone. The southeast of the species' range, from southernmost Quebec to West Virginia. The name 'Canaan Fir' derives from one of its native localities, the Canaan Valley in West Virginia. Some botanists regard this variety as a natural hybrid between Balsam Fir and Fraser Fir ("Abies fraseri"), which occurs further south in the Appalachian Mountains.

Ecology

On exposed ridges and mountain tops, stands of balsam fir occasionally develop fir waves. Often found in association with black spruce, white spruce and trembling aspen..

This tree provides food for moose, American red squirrels, crossbills and chickadees, as well as shelter for moose, snowshoe hares, white-tailed deer, ruffed grouse and other small mammals and songbirds. The needles are eaten by some lepidopteran caterpillars, for example the Io moth ("Automeris io").

Uses

The resin is used to produce Canada balsam, and was traditionally used as a cold remedy and as a glue for glasses and optical instrument components. The wood is used for paper manufacture and is also a popular Christmas tree

Tree emblem

Balsam Fir is the Provincial tree of New Brunswick.

References

*
* [http://www.conifers.org/pi/ab/balsamea.htm Gymnosperm Database: "Abies balsamea"]
* [http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=1&taxon_id=233500002 Flora of North America]
* Karen Legasy, Shayna LaBelle-Beadman & Brenda Chambers. "Forest Plants of Northeastern Ontario". Lone Pine Publishing / Queen's Printer for Ontario, 1995.

External links

* [http://www.discoverlife.org/20/q?search=Abies+balsamea Compiled images]


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  • Abies balsamea — Balsam Bal sam (b[add]l sam), n. [L. balsamum the balsam tree or its resin, Gr. ba lsamon. See {Balm}, n.] 1. A resin containing more or less of an essential or volatile oil. [1913 Webster] Note: The balsams are aromatic resinous substances,… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Abies balsamea — Balsam Bal sam (b[add]l sam), n. [L. balsamum the balsam tree or its resin, Gr. ba lsamon. See {Balm}, n.] 1. A resin containing more or less of an essential or volatile oil. [1913 Webster] Note: The balsams are aromatic resinous substances,… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Abies balsamea — Balsam Bal sam (b[add]l sam), n. [L. balsamum the balsam tree or its resin, Gr. ba lsamon. See {Balm}, n.] 1. A resin containing more or less of an essential or volatile oil. [1913 Webster] Note: The balsams are aromatic resinous substances,… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Abies balsamea — Balsam Bal sam (b[add]l sam), n. [L. balsamum the balsam tree or its resin, Gr. ba lsamon. See {Balm}, n.] 1. A resin containing more or less of an essential or volatile oil. [1913 Webster] Note: The balsams are aromatic resinous substances,… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Abies balsamea — Balm Balm (b[aum]m), n. [OE. baume, OF. bausme, basme, F. baume, L. balsamum balsam, from Gr. ba lsamon; perhaps of Semitic origin; cf. Heb. b[=a]s[=a]m. Cf. {Balsam}.] [1913 Webster] 1. (Bot.) An aromatic plant of the genus {Melissa}. [1913… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English


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