Pinaceae (pine family) Abies

Abies concolor white fir

Sierra Nevada, Rockies
Abies concolor branchlet. From An Illustrated Manual of Pacific Coast Trees, Howard E. McMinn & Evelyn Maino

A familiar fir of the Sierra Nevada around the 6000 foot level, for example at Stanford Sierra Camp on Fallen Leaf Lake, and one of the most popular Christmas trees. The single needles are up to about 2 inches long and are twisted at their point of attachment. The 2- to 4-inch cones stand upright on the upper branches and fall to pieces as the triangular winged seeds are released, leaving a core behind. Lost from campus in recent years, but common at Stanford Sierra Camp. This is an historic site pioneered by original Stanford faculty, and affords a great opportunity for getting to know many native trees, including incense cedar, red fir, white fir, mountain hemlock, western juniper, Jeffrey pine, lodgepole pine, sugar pine, white pine, alder, aspen, cottonwood, canyon live oak, vine maple, and willows.

The last known campus location was 50 Searsville Road.

Some treatments assign the California white fir to A. lowiana, or A. concolor var. (or subsp.) lowiana.

Name derivation: Abies – Latin name for fir; concolor – uniformly colored.

About this Entry: The main text of this entry is from the book Trees of Stanford and Environs, by Ronald Bracewell, published 2005. Light edits to native tree list, Searsville location, and “some treatments” note added by John Rawlings (c 2005).