Subalpine Fir

Genus Abies
Pine Family (Pinaceae)

Subalpine Fir trees with cones

Subalpine Fir
(Abies lasiocarpa)

These are very slender trees which usually grow on the north-facing slopes of our mountains, from just below timberline down to about 8000 ft. They average about 70 ft. tall.

The cones grow upward from the top branches of the tree. They are purplish in color, and are often shiny with resin. Fir cones seldom fall from the tree. Rather, they disintegrate and scatter their seeds and scales, leaving the axis of the cone sticking up on the branch.

Fir needles are flat and blunt-tipped. They feel quite soft and "friendly" to the touch, rather than sharp and prickly.

Needles of a subalpine fir

Albion Basin
Wasatch Mountains
Salt Lake County, Utah


by Sandra Bray