Northwest Conifers


White Fir – Abies concolor

White Fir grows throughout the Sierras of California. The White Fir that grows in Oregon is a hybrid of White Fir and Grand Fir, Abies concolor x grandis.* These Oregon hybrids grow in the southern Cascades and Siskiyous. The hybrids take on varying characteristics of each species, which makes identification a challenge. Oregon Flora Project and The Gymnosperm Database list these as Abies concolor x grandis. Some call these hybrids Abies grandicolor.

Needles: The needles are longer than most firs, about 2 inches long, curving up in a U or V shape. They are blue-gray, with white lines on both surfaces.


Cones: The cones sit upright like other firs. They are brown with no whiskery bracts protruding beyond the scales. Like other firs, the cones fall apart at maturity, leaving a cone core spike on the branch.

Bark: The smooth, gray bark breaks into deep furrows on large trees, often showing brown or yellowish inner bark like Douglas Fir.


Names: The scientific name, concolor  means "uniform color," describing the color of the needles. Other common names: balsam fir, silver fir, concolor fir.


USGS Distribution Map
Hybrid firs in yellow, white fir in green,
based on information from Conifer Country


© 2012 Ken Denniston