Abies balsamea (L.) Miller

Locations ofAbies balsamea (L.) Miller in Virginia

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Botanical Name
Abies balsamea (L.) Miller
Common Name
Balsam Fir, Northern Balsam
Flora of Virginia Name/Status
Abies balsamea (L.) P. Mill
Our only native occurrences are at the highest elevations of Shenandoah National Park. Plants from this area have been called A. balsamea var. phanerolepis, intermediate between balsam and Fraser fir. Genetic studies of Eastern firs revealed that var. phanerolepis is, in fact, closer to A. fraseri (see Can. J. Bot. 62:609-616 (1984)). Given the importance of fir for Christmas trees, this is probably a case of taxonomy being driven by the needs of the plant industry, at least until a fuller understanding of fir genetics is gained.
High-elevation forests and rock outcrops. Rare, mountains; the only natural occurrences are on the northern Blue Ridge, at and near Hawksbill (elev. 4060 ft) and Stony Man (elev. 4010 ft) mountains, Shenandoah National Park.
Native Status

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