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Botanical Name:Abies firma – Siebold.&Zucc.
Genus : Abies
Synonyms: Abies bifida – Siebold.&Zucc, Abies momi – Siebold.
Species: A. firma
Habitat :Native to central and southern Japan, Hills and mountains, C.& S. Japan .Woodland Garden; Canopy;
An evergreen Tree growing to 30m at a medium rate. It is hardy to zone 6 and is frost tender. It is in leaf all year, in flower from April to May, and the seeds ripen from October to November. The flowers are monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant) and are pollinated by Wind.
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It is a medium-sized to large evergreen coniferous tree growing 30 to 50 m tall and 2 m in trunk diameter, with a broad conical crown of straight branches rising at an angle of about 20° above horizontal. The bark is scaly grey-brown, with resin blisters on young trees. The shoots are grooved, buff to grey-brown, glabrous or finely pubescent. The leaves (“needles”) are flattened, 2-5 cm long and 2-4 mm broad, spread at nearly right angles from the shoot; the apex is sharp, bifid (double-pointed) on the leaves of young trees, single-pointed on mature trees. They are bright green above, and greyish-green below with two broad stomatal bands. The cones are 7-15 cm long by 3-5 cm wide, green maturing yellow-brown, tapering to a 2-3 cm broad bluntly rounded apex. The scale bracts are exserted 3-6 mm, triangular. The seeds are 7-9 mm long with a wedge-shaped wing 1.5 cm long, are released after the cones disintegrate at maturity in October.
Prefers a good moist but not water-logged soil. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Plants are very shade tolerant, especially when young, but growth is slower in dense shade. Intolerant of atmospheric pollution. Prefers slightly acid conditions, down to a pH of about 5. Prefers growing on a north-facing slope. New growth of the side shoots starts in April and this is very susceptible to damage by late frosts. The terminal buds do not open until mid-May and usually escape damage. Trees are fairly fast growing when young, sending up new growth of 60cm a year from the age of about 6 years. Side shoots grow with equal vigour, however and the tree often loses apical dominance. Trees grow best in the Perthshire valleys of Scotland. Trees should be planted into their permanent positions when they are quite small, between 30 and 90cm in height. Larger trees will check badly and hardly put on any growth for several years. This also badly affects root development and wind resistance. The flowers are produced in axils of the previous year’s shoots. Plants are strongly outbreeding, self-fertilized seed usually grows poorly. They hybridize freely with other members of this genus.
Seed – sow early February in a greenhouse or outdoors in March. Germination is often poor, usually taking about 6 – 8 weeks]. Stratification is said to produce a more even germination so it is probably best to sow the seed in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe in the autumn. The seed remains viable for up to 5 years if it is well stored. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on for at least their first winter in pots. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Alternatively, if you have sufficient seed, it is possible to sow in an outdoor seedbed. One report says that it is best to grow the seedlings on in the shade at a density of about 550 plants per square metre whilst another report says that they are best grown on in a sunny position.
Edible Parts: Seed.
Seed – roasted. No more details are given, but the seed is very small and fiddly to utilize.
Medicinal Uses: Not known.
Wood – light, soft, coarse grained, not very durable. Used for construction, pulp, etc.Momi Fir is sometimes, but not commonly, used as an ornamental tree, particularly in warm temperate regions with hot, humid summers such as the southeastern United States.
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