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Herbs & Plants

Larix decidua

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Botanical Name : Larix decidua
Family: Pinaceae
Genus: Larix
Species: L. decidua
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pinophyta
Class: Pinopsida
Order: Pinales

Common Name :European larch,Larch

Habitat :Larix decidua is  native to the mountains of central Europe, in the Alps and Carpathians, with disjunct lowland populations in northern Poland and southern Lithuania.

Description;
Larix decidua is a medium-size to large deciduous coniferous tree reaching 25–45 m tall, with a trunk up to 1 m diameter (exceptionally, to 55 m tall and 2 m diameter). The crown is conic when young, becoming broad with age; the main branches are level to upswept, with the side branches often pendulous. The shoots are dimorphic, with growth divided into long shoots (typically 10–50 cm long) and bearing several buds, and short shoots only 1–2 mm long with only a single bud. The leaves are needle-like, light green, 2–4 cm long which turn bright yellow before they fall in the autumn, leaving the pale yellow-buff shoots bare until the next spring.

CLICK TO SEE THE PICTURES

The cones are erect, ovoid-conic, 2–6 cm long, with 30-70 erect or slightly incurved (not reflexed) seed scales; they are green variably flushed red when immature, turning brown and opening to release the seeds when mature, 4–6 months after pollination. The old cones commonly remain on the tree for many years, turning dull grey-black.

It is very cold tolerant, able to survive winter temperatures down to at least -50°C, and is among the tree line trees in the Alps, reaching 2400 m altitude, though most abundant from 1000–2000 m. It only grows on well-drained soils, avoiding waterlogged ground.

Medicinal Uses:
Tamarack was employed medicinally by a number of native North American Indian tribes who used it to treat a variety of complaints.  It is used in the treatment of jaundice, anemia, rheumatism, colds and skin ailments. It is gargled in the treatment of sore throats and applied as a poultice to sores, swellings and burns. A tea made from the leaves is used as an astringent in the treatment of piles, diarrhea etc. An infusion of the buds and bark is used as an expectorant. The needles and inner bark are disinfectant and laxative. A tea is used in the treatment of coughs. A poultice made from the warm, boiled inner bark is applied to wounds to draw out infections, to burns, frostbite and deep cuts. The resin is chewed as a cure for indigestion. It has also been used in the treatment of kidney and lung disorders, and as a dressing for ulcers and burns.

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:
Larix decidua is cultivated as an ornamental tree for planting in gardens and parks.

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Wood
The wood is tough and durable, but also flexible in thin strips, and is particularly valued for yacht building; wood used for this must be free of knots, and can only be obtained from old trees that were pruned when young to remove side branches.

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Small larch poles are widely used for rustic fencing.

 

Bonsai
The European Larch is a popular Bonsai Species, with many unique specimens available in European Circles, and is popularly used in Bonsai Forest Groups

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Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Larix_decidua
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_LMN.htm

http://eng.archinform.net/stich/686.htm

http://creativeurbanite.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/larix_decidua_p.jpg

http://fichas.infojardin.com/bonsai/larix-decidua-alerce-europeo-bonsai.htm

http://www.josefsteiner.si/upload/images/product_att/laerchenpfaehle_2_23.jpg

http://www.pracbrown.co.uk/media/1015992/80cm%20quercus%20robur%20(common%20oak)%20in%20parkland%20setting.jpg

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Herbs & Plants

Platycladus orientalis

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Botanical Name : Platycladus orientalis
Family: Cupressaceae
Genus: Platycladus
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pinophyta
Class: Pinopsida
Order: Pinales

Species: P. orientalis

Common Name :Chinese Arborvitae or Biota

Etymology:
The Common Name ‘arborvitae’ is from Latin, ‘tree of life’, and is based on its association with long life and vitality in Buddhist thought in China. This is probably based on the tree’s unchanging evergreen nature in the cold dry climate of northwest China, and its longevity; some of the larger specimens planted around Buddhist temples in China are said to be in excess of 1,000 years old. It is called ce bai  in Chinese.

Habitat : Platycladus orientalis  is native to northwestern China and widely naturalised elsewhere in Asia east to Korea and Japan, south to northern India, and west to northern Iran.

Description:
Oriental arborvitae is a densely branched evergreen conifer.  It is a small, slow-growing tree, to 15-20 m tall and 0.5 m trunk diameter (exceptionally to 30 m tall and 2 m diameter in very old trees). The foliage forms in flat sprays with scale-like leaves 2-4 mm long. The cones are 15-25 mm long, green ripening brown in about 8 months from pollination, and have 6-12 thick scales arranged in opposite pairs. The seeds are 4-6 mm long, with no wing.
CLICK & SEE.. THE PICTURES
Cultivated specimens are usually grown as a smaller, bushier shrub. It tends to have several to many stems, but can be trimmed to a single leader, creating a treelike form. The overall shape is conical, with the crown becoming more irregular and spreading with age.

Although generally accepted as only member of its genus, it has been suggested that the closely related species Microbiota decussata could be included in Platycladus, but this is not widely followed. Other fairly close relatives are the genera Juniperus and Cupressus, both of these genera being graft-compatible with Platycladus. In older texts, Platycladus was often included in Thuja, but it is only distantly related to that genus. Differences from Thuja include its distinct cones, wingless seeds, and its almost scentless foliage.

Cultivation:
You may click to see : Detail of cultivation of Platycladus orientalis;

Medicinal Uses:

In Chinese herbology Platycladus orientalis is one of  50 fundamental herbs.

Other Uses:
It is very widely used as an ornamental tree, both in its homeland, where it is associated with long life and vitality, and very widely elsewhere in temperate climates. The wood is used in Buddhist temples, both for construction work, and chipped, for incense burning.

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.


Resources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Platycladus
http://www.cirrusimage.com/tree_oriental_arborvitae.htm
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Daniel_Fuchs.CC-BY-SA.Platycladus_orientalis.jpg

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Herbs & Plants

Cedar (Cedrus atlantica )

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Botanical Name  :Cedrus atlantica.
Family: Pinaceae
Genus: Cedrus
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pinophyta
Class: Pinopsida
Order: Pinales
Species: C. atlantica
Synonyms : C. atlantica. (Endlicher.)Manetti ex Carriére.

Common Names: Cedar , Atlas cedarwood

Habitat :
Cedrus atlantica is native to the Atlas Mountains of Algeria (Tell Atlas) and Morocco (in the Rif and Middle Atlas, and locally in the High Atlas).A majority of the modern sources treat it as a distinct species Cedrus atlantica, but some sources consider it a subspecies of Lebanon Cedar (C. libani subsp. atlantica. It grows on the upper slopes of the Atlas mountains where there is little or no rain in the growing season but the soil is fed by the melting snow from the peaks above.

Description:

It is a medium-sized to large tree, 30–35 m (rarely 40m) tall, with a trunk diameter of 1.5–2 m.It is very similar in all characters to the other varieties of Lebanon Cedar; differences are hard to discern. The mean cone size tends to be somewhat smaller (although recorded to 12 cm,[1] only rarely over 9 cm long, compared to up to 10 cm in C. brevifolia, and 12 cm in C. libani) though with considerable overlap (all can be as short as 6 cm), while the leaf length (10–25 mm) is similar that of C. libani subsp. stenocoma, on average longer than C. brevifolia and shorter than C. libani subsp. libani, but again with considerable overlap. In addition, many (but far from all) of the cultivated trees have glaucous (bluish) foliage, more downy shoots, and can have more leaves in each whorl; young trees in cultivation often have more ascending branches than many cultivated C. libani subsp. libani.
click to see the pictures..(01)...(1)……….(2).……..(3).…….(4)...
Atlas Cedar forms forests on mountain sides at 1,370 to 2,200 m, often in pure forests, or mixed with Algerian Fir, juniper, holm oak and maple. These forests can provide habitat for the endangered Barbary Macaque, Macaca sylvanus, a primate that had a prehistorically much wider distribution in northern Morocco and Algeria.

Cultivation
It is common in cultivation in temperate climates. In garden settings it is most often the glaucous forms that are planted as ornamental trees. The glaucous forms may be distinguished as a Cultivar Group Glauca Group. There are also fastigiate, pendulous, and golden-leaf forms in cultivation. It is useful in cultivation because it is more tolerant of dry and hot conditions than most conifers.

Medicinal Action & Uses:
Astringent* Diuretic* Expectorant* Sedative* Muscle Relaxant* Insect repellents*

Parts Used: Essense obtained from wood
Constituents: terpenic hydrocabons, cedrol, sequiterpenes

Common medical Uses: Acne * Bronchitis * Cellulite Reduction * Insect Repellent *

Cedarwood can treat serious  skin conditions like eczema
There are two commercial oils which are known as cedarwood today, Cedrus atlantica, Atlas cedarwood, which is a true cedarwood, and Juniperus virginiana, known as red cedar. Cedarwood is known for use in problem skin, as an insect repellant, and as an inhalent in respiratory complaints. It’s actions are sedative, astringent, and antiseptic. It can be used to treat oily skin and scalp, relieve itching, and more serious skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema, remembering that high concentrations will irritate the skin. Cedarwood is similar in action to the highly expensive sandalwood, it also has a sedative effect making it grounding in conditions of anxiety and nervous tension.

Cedarwood oil is extracted from the red cedar, a coniferous tree native to North America, commonly used to make pencils.This tree is closely related to the yellow cedar, the source of thuja oil. Atlas cedarwood (true cedarwood) comes from Morocco and is the more favored oil in aromatherapy. Cedarwood oil is clear, and blends well with rose, juniper and cypress. It is used as a fixative in perfumes. The balsamic, woody aroma of red cedarwood has relaxing, meditative properties and adds a warm note to blends. Deep, woody and rich, the aroma of Atlas cedar inspires emotional strength and centering awareness. Therapeutically both oils resemble sandalwood to some degree, but are hotter and more toxic.

Side Effects: A skin irritant in high concentrations.

Other Uses:
Essential; Hedge; Hedge; Repellent; Wood.

An essential oil obtained from the distilled branches is used in perfumery, notably in jasmine-scented soaps. The essential oil also repels insects. Plants can be grown as a tall hedge. Wood – fragrant and durable. It is prized for joinery and veneer and is also used in construction. It is also used for making insect-repellent articles for storing textiles
Cedar plantations, mainly with Cedrus atlantica, have been established in southern France for timber production.

An Atlas Cedar is planted at the White House South Lawn in Washington D.C. Washington, DC. President Carter ordered a tree house built on the Cedar for his daughter Amy. The wooden structure was designed by the President himself, and is self supporting so as not to cause damage to the tree.

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.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlas_Cedar
http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail166.php

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Cedrus+atlantica

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Herbs & Plants

Subalpine Fir (Abies lasiocarpa)

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Botanical Name : Abies lasiocarpa
Family:
Pinaceae
Genus:
Abies
Species:
A. lasiocarpa
Kingdom:
Plantae
Division:
Pinophyta
Class:
Pinopsida
Order:
Pinales

Synonyms : Abies subalpina – Engelm., Pinus lasiocarpa – Hook.
Common Name: German: Korksilbertanne.  Czech: jedle plstnatoplodá

Habitat: Western N. America – Alaska to Arizona and New Mexico.   Often found in poor and rocky soils, it is rarely seen below 600 metres. It grows in forests right up to the timber line where it is no more than a shrub on exposed slopes at high altitudes.

Description:
Abies lasiocarpa  is an evergreen deciduous  medium-sized coniferous  tree growing to 20 metres (66 ft) tall, exceptionally to 40–50 metres (130–160 ft) tall, with a trunk up to 1 m diameter, and a very narrow conic crown. The bark on young trees is smooth, gray, and with resin blisters, becoming rough and fissured or scaly on old trees. The leaves are flat needle-like, 1.5–3 centimetres (0.59–1.18 in) long, glaucous green above with a broad stripe of stomata, and two blue-white stomatal bands below; the fresh leaf scars are reddish. They are arranged spirally on the shoot, but with the leaf bases twisted to be arranged to the sides of and above the shoot, with few or none below the shoot. The cones are erect, 6–12 centimetres (2.4–4.7 in) long, dark blackish-purple with fine yellow-brown pubescence, ripening brown and disintegrating to release the winged seeds in early fall.CLICK & SEE

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.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES
Leaf: Flattened needles, usually about 1 inch long, thickened in the middle, bluish white bloom on all surfaces; tips mostly rounded, but may be notched (or pointed near top of tree); spirally arranged but uniformly upswept; commonly have a manicured appearance.

Flower: Monoecious; male cones bluish and borne beneath the leaves; female cones purple and borne upright near the top of the crown.

Fruit: Cones are 2 to 4 inches long, cylindrical, slender, and borne upright on the twig (frequently in clusters); cone scales are deciduous, falling from the cone as seeds ripen; purple when mature.

Twig: Stiff, orange-brown, and covered with round, flat leaf scars when needles fall. Buds are small, rounded, and covered with pitch; terminal buds usually occur in clusters of three or more.

Bark: When young, grayish green and covered with resin blisters; later turning gray to white, unbroken except near base of large trees. Resin pockets scattered throughout inner bark.

Form: When mature 40 to 100 feet tall and 1 to 2 feet in diameter. Very narrow crown of dense foliage; often spire-like with branches to the ground.

Cultivation:
Prefers a good moist but not water-logged soil. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Very shade tolerant, especially when young, but growth is slower in dense shade[81]. Intolerant of atmospheric pollution. Prefers slightly acid conditions down to a pH of about 5. Prefers growing on a north-facing slope. Occasionally planted for timber in N. Europe but this species does not thrive in Britain. It is a very cold-hardy tree but the milder winters of this country make it susceptible to damage by aphis and late frosts. The sub-species A. lasiocarpa arizonica. (Merriam.)Lemmon. is growing somewhat better here. 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[200]. Plants are strongly outbreeding, self-fertilized seed usually grows poorly. They hybridize freely with other members of this genus. The crushed foliage has a balsam aroma.

Propagation:-
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 Uses:-
Edible Parts: Inner bark; Seed; Seedpod.

Edible Uses: Gum; Tea.

The shoot tips are used as a tea substitute. The cones can be ground into a fine powder, then mixed with fat and used as a confection. It is said to be a delicacy and an aid to the digestion. The resin from the trunk is used as a chewing gum. It is said to treat bad breath. Inner bark. No more information is given, but inner bark is often dried, ground into a powder and then used with cereal flours when making bread etc. Seeds. No more information is given, but the seeds are very small and fiddly to use. Seeds of this genus are generally oily with a resinous flavour and can be eaten raw or cooked.

Medicinal  Actions & Uses:

Antihalitosis; Antiseptic; Emetic; Foot care; Laxative; Poultice; TB; Tonic.

Antiseptic. The gummy exudate that appears on the bark was soaked in water until soft and then applied to wounds. An infusion of the resin has been used as an emetic to cleanse the insides. The resin has also been chewed to treat bad breath. A decoction of the bark is used as a tonic and in the treatment of colds and flu. A poultice of the leaves has been used to treat chest colds and fevers. An infusion has been taken to treat the coughing up of blood, which can be the first sign of TB, and as a laxative.

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; Deodorant; Gum; Hair; Incense; Miscellany; Repellent; Wood.

The fragrant young leaves and twigs are used to repel moths or are burnt as an incense. They were also ground into a powder and used to make a baby powder and perfumes. A gum is obtained from the bark. It is antiseptic and was chewed by the N. American Indians in order to clean the teeth. It was also used to plug holes in canoes. An infusion of the leaves is used as a hair tonic. The leaves can also be placed in the shoes as a foot deodorant. Wood – light, soft, not strong. It is little used except as a fuel and for pulp. The native North American Indians used it for making chairs and insect-proof storage boxes. It was also used as a fuel and was said to burn for a long time.

Scented Plants
Leaves: Crushed
The crushed foliage has a balsam aroma.

Resource:
http://www.pfaf.org/database/plants.php?Abies+lasiocarpa
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=ABLAL&photoID=ablal_003_avp.jpg
http://www.about-garden.com/e/en/7-subalpine-fir-abies-lasiocarpa/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abies_lasiocarpa

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Abies sibirica

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Botanical NameAbies sibirica –
Family : Pinaceae
Genus: Abies
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pinophyta
Class: Pinopsida
Order: Pinales
Species:
A. sibirica

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.

Range:-
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).

Description:
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.

You may click to see the pictures of    Abies Sibirica      

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.

Taxonomic notes:-
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

Cultivation:-
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.

Propagation:-
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.

Other Uses:-
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.)

Scented Plants:-
Leaves: Crushed
The bruised leaves are aromatic.

Ecology. :-
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.

Resources:
http://www.pfaf.org/database/plants.php?Abies+sibirica
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abies_sibirica
http://www.conifers.org/pi/ab/sibirica.htm

http://www.agroatlas.ru/en/content/related/Abies_sibirica/

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