Common names: Siberian fir
Habitat: Native to the taiga east of the Volga River and south of 67°40′ North latitude through Turkestan, northeast Xinjiang, Mongolia and Heilongjiang N. Europe – Russia to E. Asia – China. Forms extensive forests on cool wet mountainsides in N.E. Russia.
China: Xinjiang; Kazakhstan; Kyrgyzstan; Russian Federation: Altay, Amur, Buryatiya, Chita, Irkutsk, Khabarovsk, Krasnoyarsk, Tuva, West Siberia, Yakutiya. Subsp. semenovii is confined to Kyrgyzstan: Talasskij Ala Tau, but is suspected to extend into China. The species as a whole is considered threatened in China (Conifer Specialist Group 1998).
An evergreen coniferous Tree.
It is hardy to zone 1 and is frost tender. It is in leaf all year, in flower in May, and the seeds ripen in September. 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.
The tree lives in the cold boreal climate on moist soils in mountains or river basins at elevations of 1900-2400 m. It is very shade-tolerant, frost-resistant, and hardy, surviving temperatures down to ?50 °C. It rarely lives over 200 years due to the susceptibility to fungal decay in the wood.
Siberian Fir grows 30-35 m tall with a trunk diameter of 0.5-1 m at breast height and a conical crown. The bark is grey-green to grey-brown and smooth with resin blisters typical of most firs. Shoots are yellow-grey, resinous, and slightly pubescent. The leaves are needle-like, 2-3 cm long and 1.5 mm broad on average. They are light green above with two grey-white stomatal bands underneath, and are directed upwards along the stem. They are soft, flattened, and strongly aromatic. The cones are cylindrical, 5-9.5 cm long and 2.5-3.5 cm broad, with small bracts hidden by the scales. They ripen from bluish to brown or dark brown in mid-autumn. The seeds, 7 mm long with a triangular wing 0.7-1.3 cm long, are released when the cone disintegrates after maturity.
There are two varieties:–
#Abies sibirica var. sibirica. Described above.
#Abies sibirica var. semenovii (B. Fedtschenko) Farjon. Endemic in Kyrgyzstan. Branchlets noticeably ridged and grooved. Resin canals marginal.
Cones yellow-brown, with broader bracts than those of var. sibirica.
Two subspecies, the type and Abies sibirica subsp. semenovii (B. Fedtsch.) Farjon 1990. There is also a widespread natural hybrid found in China: Heilongjiang, Abies × sibirico-nephrolepis Taken. et Chien 1957 (Farjon 1998).
Synonymy for subsp. sibirica (Farjon 1998):
*Pinus sibirica (Ledeb.) Turcz. non Du Tour
*Pinus picea Pall. non L.
*Abies pichta J. Forbes
*Picea pichta (J. Forbes) Loudon
*Pinus pichta Fisch. ex Endl.
Synonymy for subsp. semenovii (Farjon 1998):
*A. semenovii B. Fedtsch.
*A. sibirica var. semenovii (B. Fedtsch.) Liu
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. Cultivated for timber in N. Europe but although very hardy, this species does not thrive in Britain, preferring much harsher climates. It tolerates temperatures down to about -50°c but in the mild winters of Britain it is often excited into premature growth and is then very susceptible to damage by late frosts. 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. Plants are strongly outbreeding, self-fertilized seed usually grows poorly. They hybridize freely with other members of this genus. Most if not all trees grown under this name in Britain are in fact A. sachalinensis.
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
Medicinal Action & Uses:-
Antirheumatic; Expectorant; Stimulant.
The essential oil obtained from the leaves is antirheumatic, expectorant and stimulant.Essential oils extracted from the leaves are used in aromatherapy and perfumes.
An essential oil obtained from the leaves is used medicinally. The wood is soft, lightweight, and weak. It is used in construction, furniture, and wood pulp.(Wood light and soft, has no heart or resin ducts; used poorly.)
The bruised leaves are aromatic.
Forests with dominance of Siberian fir or with its participation, along with spruce and Siberian pine, form the “dark” taiga of Siberia. Less often, occurs as an admixture in pine and larch forests, in the European part in broad-leaved forests, in mountains of southern Siberia in lime forests. In the Polar Ural up to 600 m a.s.l., in Altai up to 2400 m a.s.l.
Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.