Northwest Conifers


White Fir – Abies concolor Speaker


White Fir at Reed College


USGS Distribution Map
Grand/White Fir in yellow,
White Fir in green, based on
information from
Conifer Country

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 challange.

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.


*Oregon Flora Project and The Gymnosperm Database list these as Abies concolor x grandis. Some call these hybrids Abies grandicolor.


Needles and pollen Cones


© 2012 Ken Denniston