Abies concolor

White Fir, Concolor Fir




  • native to the Rocky Mountains of the western United States; from Canada to California
  • zone 3

Habit and Form

  • evergreen tree
  • 50' to 75' tall by 20' to 30' wide, but can reach over 100' tall
  • pyramidal in shape, holding a dense, formal shape well, even with age
  • medium to coarse texture
  • slow to medium growth rate

Summer Foliage

  • needles are 2" to 3" long
  • needles arranged horizontally on the stem, curving up and out, much like a "rib cage"
  • needles are glaucous on both-sides giving it a blue cast to the upper and underside
  • needles have 2 white stomatal lines on underside
  • buds are resinous

Autumn Foliage

  • no fall color (evergreen)


  • no ornamental value
  • monoecious


  • brown cones, green when immature
  • cylindrical
  • 4" to 5" long
  • cones shatter when mature
  • cones borne on the upper third of the tree


  • smooth, except for occasional resin blisters
  • bark has a whitish gray color
  • new stems are yellow-green in color and are somewhat hairy


  • easily transplanted
  • tolerant of most climates and city conditions
  • prefers a deep, well-drained soil with adequate moisture, but less fussy about soil moisture than other Abies sp.
  • full sun
  • most adaptable of all Abies sp. to cultivation

Landscape Uses

  • specimen tree, has exceptional foliage
  • adds nice color to typical green winter foliage
  • less likely to fail than other true firs under a range of landscape situations


  • formal form and blue color can be imposing in some landscape situations
  • often damaged by deer

ID Features

  • needles are similar in color on top and bottom
  • smooth bark with resin blisters
  • longest needles of commonly seen firs
  • resinous buds
  • circular leaf scars


  • by seed, stratification period required for good germination


'Candicans' - Notable for its intense silvery-blue needles, perhaps the bluest of all Abies.

'Compacta' - A handsome dwarf form with an irregular habit and blue needles.

'Dwarf Globe' - A dwarf form (to 3' tall) with needles that are borne densely and bluish-green in color.

'Glenmore' - A more compact variety than the species with grey-blue needles that are longer than usual.

'Gable's Weeping' - An unusual, slow-growing form that forms a mound of drooping branches.

'Violacea' - Beautiful form with intense silvery-blue needles. Often grafted on species understock.

© Copyright Mark H. Brand, 1997-2015.

The digital materials (images and text) available from the UConn Plant Database are protected by copyright. Public use via the Internet for non-profit and educational purposes is permitted. Use of the materials for profit is prohibited.

Citation and Acknowledgements: University of Connecticut Plant Database, http://hort.uconn.edu/plants, Mark H. Brand, Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture, Storrs, CT 06269-4067 USA.