Silver Fir at Hoyt Arboretum
& forward, white lines below
Cones: 3-6" long, upright
at treetop, green
Bark: Smooth, gray scaly
Where: Above 3000 ft. in
western Oregon and Washington
Pacific Silver Fir has needles similar to Grand
with white lines underneath. But the needles point forward
and upward rather than lying flat like Grand Fir needles.
The cones sit
upright on the
branch and turn from green to purple. Like other firs, the cones
fall apart at maturity, leaving a cone core spike on the branch. The
pollen cones look like tiny, pea-size raspberries.
Young bark is
gray and smooth with resin blisters. Older bark breaks into gray scaly
Where it grows: Pacific
Silver Fir grows at
mid to higher elevations of the Cascades, in the Olympic
Mountains, and in a few locations in the Coast Range in Oregon and
Washington. It often
grows in pure stands of large
trees and sometimes near the timberline, mixed with Subalpine Fir and
Mountain Hemlock. It also grows in southeast Alaska, Vancouver Island
and along the coast of British Columbia.
Similar tree: Subalpine
Fir also grows near the
timberline and has a similar appearance, but it has white lines on both
the upper and lower sides of the
people used the boughs for floor bedding, chewed the pitch as gum, and
used the wood for firewood. Today the wood is mostly
used as a source of pulp for maiking paper.
The common name
reflects the color of the lower surface of the needles and the silvery
bark. David Douglas named it amabilis,
which means "lovely." Other common names: White Fir, Red Fir, Lovely
Fir, Amabilis Fir, and Cascades Fir.
Needle - lower surface
Pollen cone after shedding pollen