A tree up to 50 m tall with short, dense, rigid upper branches and
drooping longer lower branches, the tree thus easily recognized from a
distance because of its church spire-like appearance, the bark gray,
early smooth except for large resin blisters, the young twigs
rusty-puberulent; At higher elevations, subalpine fir has a shrub-like
appearance; leaves grooved above and ribbed beneath, the lower often
twisted so they all stand erect or nearly so; staminate cones bluish;
mature ovulate cones dark purplish, 6-10 cm long, the scales about 2.5
cm long and broad, the bracts less than half this long and lacerate;
seeds about 6 mm long, High mts. from Alberta to Alaska, south to New
Mexico and California.
leaves bluish-green, 2 ½- 3 cm long, almost flat, but slightly grooved
with a white stripe above, and ribbed with 2 white stripes beneath, two
resin ducts as large as the midvein located ½ way between the midvein
and margin and upper and lower surfaces; tips blunt or slightly notched;
the lower needles often twisted so they all stand erect or nearly so
Staminate cones bluish, about 9 mm long; when shedding their seeds,
mature cones fall apart leaving a center stalk erect on the tree;
mature ovulate cones dark purplish, 6-10 cm long, about 3 cm broad; the
scales about 2.5 cm long and broad, the bracts less than half this long
6-7 mm long
In Idaho usually above 5000 feet in elevation up to timberline.
South Alaska and Yukon to Alberta, south in higher mountains in Idaho,
Montana, Wyoming south through Colorado to New Mexico and Arizona.
Grand Fir hybridizes with White Fir in eastern Washington and Oregon.
needles can be made into a tea which is diuretic or can be used as an
expectorant or burned as an incense..
The bark can be used externally as an astringent externally with some
disinfectant properties or internally for intestinal tract, lung, or
The pitch, bark, and needles can be made into a tea which can be used
as a wash, or drunk several times a day.
Because of the pitch pockets, it pops and sputters while burning, thus
many do not even like to use it as firewood. From a lumbering
standpoint, it is not utilized except for pulp, boxes and crates.