Abies concolor (White or Silver Fir)

Michael's Opinion

Another class plant that is not planted as frequently as it should be. Although not tolerant of the wide exposure of conditions that Blue Spruce is, it is a good substitute in protected locations. Plants pictured here are at the University of Western Ontario or Rayner Gardens, London, Ontario, Canada.

Botanical Information

TypeTree (evergreen)
OriginThe American west: Colorado, California and as far south as Mexico.


USDA Hardiness Zone4
USDA Hardiness Ref.
Canadian Hardiness Zone2 - 5a
Canada Hardiness Ref.
RHS Hardiness ZoneH7
RHS Hardiness Ref.
Temperature (°C)-29 - (-23)
Temperature (°F)-20 - (-10)
Height20 m
Spread5 m
Flowering PeriodMay

Description and Growing Information

General DescriptionA broadly pyramidal tree, equal in stature to the more commonly planted Blue Spruce.
ID CharacteristicCoarse, blue tinged, flat needles, arranged around the upper portion of the branches.
ShapeBroadly pyramidal.
LandscapeA large plant that should be given room to showcase its form, it can be used in most landscapes where ordinary spruce would be used.
PropagationFrom seed, 5°C at thirty days in a moist medium. For selections: grafted scions should be used on A. concolor seedling rootstock.
CultivationAs easily cultivated plant if given good soils and adequate moisture during summer droughts. The pictured specimens receive no care but are planted in good, but light soils.
PestsNone that I have observed, although poor cultural conditions can have an impact on its vigour.
Notable SpecimensThe University of Western Ontario and Rayner Gardens, London, Ontario, Canada.
HabitatMountain slopes of the American Rockies.
Bark/Stem DescriptionSmooth grey when young, flat fissured when older.
Flower/Leaf Bud DescriptionLight brown, blunt tipped buds often resinous.
Leaf DescriptionCoarse, blue tinged, flat needles, arranged around the upper portion of the branches.
Flower DescriptionA purple red colour and very, very visible.
Fruit DescriptionQuite unique, but seldom seen in Ontario. Held upright on the tops of the branches they gradually disintegrate to release their seeds. Immature cones are a dull blue.
Colour DescriptionThe blue colour can be variable depending on propagation method: seed or clonal selection.
Texture DescriptionMedium textured, although softer looking than Blue Spruce.