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Home > Landscaping > Native Plants for Western Washington Gardens and Restoration Projects



Abies grandis

Grand Fir

This species does not produce flowers
Partial sun
Moist soil Dry soil


At a Glance: Abies grandis is a tall, straight tree with short, dense branches.

Height: 130-260 feet (40-80 meters).
Growth Form: Tree.
Stems: Bark is greyish - brown in color. The bark of Abies Grandis is initially smooth with resin blisters but becomes rough and scaly with age. The trunk is 0.5-1 meter (20-40 inches) wide.
Leaves: Needles smell similar to tangerines and are spread apart horizontally so that both the upper and lower sides of the branch are clearly visible. Needles lie perfectly flat on twigs, like teeth on a comb. (AJ); needles are 2-5 cm (0.8-2 in) long with a blunt tip; color is dark green with two white stripes on the underside.
Flowering Period: none.
Fruits: Cones are positioned high in the crown of the tree and disintegrate before falling to the ground. Cones are cylindrically shaped, 5-10 cm (2-4 in) long by 4 cm (1.5 in) in diameter, yellow in color when mature and greenish when unripe. (AJ).

Abies grandis
Photo © 2004, Starflower Foundation
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Sun/Shade Tolerance Hydrology Elevation Range
full sun > 80%
mostly sunny 60%-80%
partial sun and shade 40%- 60%
mostly shady 60%-80%
full shade > 80%

wet
moist
dry

Wetland Indicator Status:
FACU (facultative upland)
low elevation
mid elevation
sub-alpine
high elevation


Soil Preferences
Abies grandis is susceptible to rot and therefore is typically found in drier soils.
sandy soils
gravelly soils
clay soils
muddy soils
peaty soils
well drained soils
shallow soils
deep soils
acidic soils
basic soils
humic soils
nutrient rich soils
nutrient poor soils
mineral soils
organic soils

Habitat Preferences
Aquatic and Wetland:
Ponds or lakes
Shallow pools
Sloughs
Swales or wet ditches
Seasonally inundated areas
Marshes or swamps
Aquatic bed wetlands
Emergent wetlands
Scrub-shrub wetlands
Forested wetlands
Bogs, fens
Seeps, springs
Shorelines and Riparian:
Lake shores
Bog margins
Streams or rivers
Stream or river banks
Riparian corridors
River bars
Floodplains
Bottomlands
Alluvial areas
Saltwater Areas:
In or near saltwater
Mud flats
Tidal areas
Estuaries
Saltmarshes
Brackish water
Seashores
Coastal dunes or beaches
Rocky or Gravelly Areas:
Coastal bluffs
Cliffs
Rocky slopes
Outcrops
Crevices
Glacial outwash
Gullies
Slide areas
Sub-alpine and Alpine:
Heaths
Snow beds
Tundra
Avalanche tracks
Forests and Thickets:
Forests and woods
Open forests
Coniferous forests
Old growth forests
Deciduous forests
Mixed forests
Nurse logs
Forest edges, openings, or clearings
Thickets
Meadows and Fields:
Pastures or fields
Meadows or grassy areas
Mossy areas
Disturbed Areas:
Roadsides
Trailsides
Logged sites
Burned areas
Disturbed sites

Wildlife Value
Berries
Seeds
Nectar for hummingbirds
Nectar for butterflies
Host for insect larvae
Thickets and shelter
Thorny or protective cover

Birds: Grouse, nuthatches, chickadees, grosbeaks, finches, crossbills feed on the fir seeds. Sapsuckers and woodpeckers feed on the foliage. Provides shelter for birds.
Insects: Pine white butterfly larvae eat the leaves.
Mammals: Provides shelter for many mammals such as squirrels, porcupines, and deer.


Ethnobotanical Uses and Other Facts
Material Uses: The Kwakwakawaku shamans wove grand fir branches into head-dresses and costumes. The Hesquiat used the branches for incense and decorative clothing for wolf dancers. The Okanagan used the wood and bark to build canoes. The pitch was applied to bows and paddles to secure grip. The Salish used the bark to make a brown dye to apply to baskets. The knots in the wood were shaped, steamed, and carved into fish hooks by the Ditidaht, Salish, and other coastal groups.
Medicinal Uses: The bark was mixed with nettles to create a tonic and decoration for bathing. The Lushootseed boiled its needles to make medicinal tea for colds. Grand fir bark was crushed and mixed with tree bark to make an infusion that was drank to cure internal injuries. The Hesquiat mixed the pitch of young grand fir trees with oil and rubbed it on the scalp as a deodorant and to prevent balding.
Name Info: The name grand refers to the large, robust cones.


Suggested References



The landscaping and restoration information provided on this page is taken from the Starflower Foundation Image Herbarium. All photographs © Starflower Foundation unless otherwise noted.