Herbs & Plants

Grand Fir

Botanical Name:
Abies grandis –
A. grandis

Synonyms: Abies excelsior – Franco.A. amabilis Murr. not Forbes, A. excelsior Franco, A. gordoniana Carr. (Vidakovic 1991), Pinus grandis Douglas ex D. Don 1832 (Hunt 1993).
Common Names: Grand, lowland, white, silver, yellow or stinking fir (Peattie 1950), sapin grandissime (Hunt 1993).
Genus: Abies
Habitat : Western N. America – British Columbia to California, east to Montana and Idaho.. Found in a variety of soils, but the best specimens are growing in deep rich alluvial soils It ranges from the coast to inland elevations of about 2000 metres if growing by streams.Woodland Garden; Canopy; Deep Shade.

Range: Canada: British Columbia; USA: Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon and California at 0-1500 m in moist conifer forests (Hunt 1993). See also Thompson et al. (1999).

An evergreen Tree growing to 75 m tall and 155 cm dbh; “crown conic, in age round topped or straggly.

It  is not frost tender. It is in leaf all year, and the seeds ripen from September to October. 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.

Bark gray, thin to thick, with age becoming brown, often with reddish periderm visible in furrows bounded by hard flat ridges. Branches spreading, drooping; twigs mostly opposite, light brown, pubescent. Buds exposed, purple, green, or brown, globose, small to moderately large, resinous, apex round; basal scales short, broad, equilaterally triangular, slightly pubescent or glabrous, resinous, margins entire, apex pointed or slightly rounded. Leaves (1)2-6 cm × l.5-2.5 mm, 2-ranked, flexible, with leaves at center of branch segment longer than those near ends, or with distinct long and short leaves intermixed, proximal portion ± straight, leaves higher in tree spiraled and 1-ranked; cross section flat, grooved adaxially; odor pungent, faintly turpentinelike; abaxial surface with 5-7 stomatal rows on each side of midrib; adaxial surface light to dark lustrous green, lacking stomates or with a few stomates toward leaf apex; apex distinctly notched (rarely rounded); resin canals small, near margins and abaxial epidermal layer. Pollen cones at pollination bluish red, purple, orange, yellow, or ± green. Seed cones cylindric, (5)6-7(12) × 3-3.5 cm, light green, dark blue, deep purple, or gray, sessile, apex rounded; scales ca. 2-2.5 × 2-2.5 cm, densely pubescent; bracts included. Seeds 6-8 × 3-4 mm, body tan; wing about 1.5 times as long as body, tan with rosy tinge; cotyledons (4)5-6(7). 2n=24″ (Hunt 1993).


The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in heavy clay soil. The plant prefers acid and neutral soils. It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires moist soil. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure. It cannot tolerate atmospheric pollution.

Cultivation :-
Prefers a good moist but not water-logged soil. Grows well in heavy clay soils and succeeds in poor sandy soils. Very shade tolerant, especially when young, but growth is slower in dense shade. Intolerant of atmospheric pollution. Trees succeeds in very exposed positions, even if the top is blown out by the wind the trees make one or more new tops and continue growing with no loss of vigour. Prefers slightly acid conditions down to a pH of about 5[200]. Prefers growing on a north-facing slope. This species thrives exceedingly well in the moister parts of Britain, where it grows very quickly. It is cultivated for timber in W. and N. Europe. Trees are slow growing for the first few years but they are then quite fast with trees growing 60 – 100cm in height and 8cm in girth per year even when they are quite large. New growth takes place from early May to July. Trees grow best in the Perthshire valleys of Scotland and in the far west of Britain. Some trees have reached heights in excess of 60 metres in 100 years in Wales and Scotland, making them amongst the tallest trees in Europe. A very ornamental plant, it is rarely harmed by disease, insects or frost. The crushed leaves have a fruity orange-flavoured aroma. 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.

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[78] whilst another report says that they are best grown on in a sunny position[

Edible Uses:-
Edible Parts: Inner bark.

Edible Uses: Drink; Gum; Tea.

Inner bark – cooked. It is usually dried, ground into a powder and then used as a thickening in soups etc or mixed with cereals when making bread[161]. It is best used in the spring when it is rich and juicy. An emergency food, it is only used when all else fails. The gum from the trunk is hardened (probably in cold water) and used as a chewing gum. It can also be made into a drink. Young shoot tips are used as a tea substitute.

Medicinal Actions & Uses:
Antirheumatic; Laxative; Ophthalmic; Skin; Stomachic; TB; Tonic.

A gum that exudes from the bark is used externally as an ointment. It has also been used as a wash for sore and infected eyes and as a gargle for sore throats. A decoction is laxative and tonic, it is used to treat stomach problems. Externally, the gum is applied as a poultice to cuts and sores. A decoction of the root bark or stem is used in the treatment of stomach problems and TB. A poultice is applied to joints to ease rheumatism or to the chest to treat lung haemorrhages. A decoction of the leaves is used as a tonic and in the treatment of colds.

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.

Other Uses:-
Baby care; Dye; Incense; Repellent; Roofing; Wood.

The aromatic leaves are used as a moth repellent. The boughs have been used in the home as an incense. A pink dye can be obtained from the bark. The dried and hardened pitch can be chewed as a tooth cleanser. A powder made from the dried and crushed leaves was used as a baby powder by the N. American Indians. The bark can be used as a waterproof covering material for buildings and canoes. Wood – light, soft, coarse grained, not strong, not very durable. Used for interior work, cases, etc. Of little value as a lumber, it is used mainly for pulp and fuel.

Scented Plants:-
Leaves: Fresh Crushed
The crushed leaves have a fruity orange-flavoured aroma. The growing plant exudes a pungent, balsamic fragrance.



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