Hickel fir (Silba 1986).
Syn: A. oaxacana Mart. (Silba 1986), A. religiosa (Kunth) Schlechtendahl et Chamisso subsp. hickelii (Flous et Gaussen) K. Strandby, K.I. Christensen, et M. Sørensen 2009.
Aguirre-Planter et al. (2000) studied genetic variability in the southern Mexican firs, Abies flinckii, A. guatemalensis, A. hickelii, and A. religiosa, and found that they all have low genetic diversity within populations, suggesting that they have each experienced genetic bottlenecks during their retreat to their current interglacial refugia (a biogeographic situation which also puts them at extreme risk from global warming). They also show high diversity between populations, supporting their treatment as separate taxa (although A. flinckii is here treated as a synonym of A. guatemalensis). Strandby et al. (2009), considering only a group of morphometric characters, further concluded that there are minimal differences between A. hickelii, A. guatemalensis, and A. religiosa, and designated them all as subspecies of A. religiosa. It seems more likely, though, that their analysis simply did not assess a sufficiently broad range of characters.
"A conical tree 20-30 m. tall, with an irregular crown. Bark gray, furrowed into quadrangular plates. Branchlets dark brown to reddish, slightly pubescent. Buds globular or slightly ovoid, slightly resinous, scales obtuse. Leaves nearly 2-ranked, spreading widely, grooved above, dark shiny green above, 1.5-3.2 cm. long by 1-1.5 mm. wide, flattened below except near the base, margins somewhat revolute, glaucous below; stomata absent above, in 14-16 lines below; base twisted; apex often notched. Female cone cylindric-oblong, shortly pointed at the apex or obtuse, slightly resinous, on a peduncle 1 cm. long, dark brown to violet-brown, 7-12 cm. long by 3.5-7 cm. wide; scales suborbicular, margins denticulate; bracts slightly exserted, erect, triangular-ovoid. Seed with a nut 6-7 mm. long, wing orange-yellow to 1.3 cm. long" (Silba 1986).
This species is listed as endangered in Mexico under NOM-ECOL-059-94.
One study performed in Oaxaca (Naylor 1971) found generally unsatisfactory results: all sampled trees were young, complacent, and could not be crossdated. This finding was attributed to an insufficiently seasonal climate. Further work can be located at the Bibliography of Dendrochronology.
Aguirre-Planter,Erika, Glenn R. Furnier, and Luis E. Eguiarte. 2000. Low levels of genetic variation within and high levels of genetic differentiation among populations of species of Abies from southern Mexico and Guatemala. American Journal of Botany 87:362-371. Available: http://www.amjbot.org/cgi/content/abstract/87/3/362, accessed 2009.04.15.
Naylor, T.H. 1971. Dendrochronology in Oaxaca, Mexico: a preliminary study. Tree-Ring Bulletin 31:25-29. Available: www.treeringsociety.org/TRBTRR/TRBvol31_25-29.pdf, accessed 2006.06.14.
Strandby, U., K.I. Christensen, and M. Sørensen. 2009. A morphometric study of the Abies religiosa–hickelii–guatemalensis complex (Pinaceae) in Guatemala and Mexico. Plant Systematics and Evolution 280:59-76.
Farjon (1990) provides a detailed account, with illustrations.
Last Modified 2012-11-23