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photograph

Trees silhouetted above Teletskoe Lake, Altai, Siberia [Vladimir Dinets].

range map

European portion of the range of Abies sibirica (Atlas Florae Europaeae 1998).

photograph

Line drawing; for full size image go to the Flora of China (Wu and Raven 1999).

 

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Conservation status

Abies sibirica

Ledeb. 1833

Common names

Пихта сибирская pikhta sibirskaya [Russian]; 西伯利亚冷杉 [Chinese]; Siberian fir [English].

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):

Synonymy for subsp. semenovii (Farjon 1998):

Description

"A tree attaining a height of 30 m and a diameter of 50 cm. Crown conical. Bark gray-green, smooth, with numerous resin blisters. Shoots gray, slightly tomentose, with resin blisters. Buds greenish, small, globose and resinous. Needles grass green, directed upwards, slender, soft, those on the lower side of the shoot horizontal, 30-40 mm long, those on the upper side 10-15 mm long, all strongly aromatic, 1 mm wide, apex rounded or notched, with occasional stomata, and on lower surface 2 gray stomala bands. Cones cylindrical, 5-9 cm long, 2-3 cm thick, bluish before maturation; seed scales with dentate margin; bract scales concealed. Cotyledons 3-4" (Vidakovic 1991).

See Wu and Raven 1999 for a more detailed and current description.

Specimens with green immature cones have been described as forma chlorocarpa Wilson. In Heilongjiang, China, this species hybridizes with Abies nephrolepis: Abies × sibirico-nephrolepis Takenouchi et Chien. The hybrid has shorter leaves, the young shoots are grey-brown pubescent, and the cones are larger; other characters are intermediate between the two species (Farjon (1990)).

Distribution and Ecology

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. Hardy to Zone 1 (cold hardiness limit below -45.6°C) (Bannister and Neuner 2001), which makes it one of the most cold-hardy trees known. The species as a whole is considered threatened in China (Conifer Specialist Group 1998).

Big tree

The height record, 40.5 m, belongs to a cultivated tree at the Finnish Forest Research Institute in Punkaharju, Finland. Measured July 27, 2012 by Kouta Räsänen and Esko Oska, the tree is 67 cm dbh (Räsänen 2012). Vladimir Dinets (e-mail 1998.01.02) reported a tree in habitat 39 m tall at Teletskoye Lake, Altai Mts, Russia.

Oldest

"This fir never exceeds an age of 150 to 200 years due to rot that sets in the wood" (Vidakovic 1991).

Dendrochronology

Ethnobotany

Essential oils from its foliage are steam distilled for aromatherapy, perfumery, and related uses (Anonymous 2000).

Observations

Remarks

"It prefers cool and and moist climate. Although extremely resistant to frost, in Yugoslavia it is subject to late frost injury. Gases will also inflict serious damage. Propagation is by seeds and rooting of lower branches" (Vidakovic 1991).

Citations

Anonymous. 2000. Pine needle oil (Abies sibirica Ledeb.) Siberia. www.execpc.com/~goodscnt/data/es1005151.html, accessed 2000.03.16, now defunct.

Conifer Specialist Group. 1998. Abies sibirica. In: 2008 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. www.iucnredlist.org, accessed 2009.04.17.

Räsänen, K. 2012. Siberian fir on the corner of Finlandiantie in Laukansaari. www.monumentaltrees.com/en/fin/southernsavonia/punkaharju/4456_finlandiantie/, accessed 2012.02.24. Includes a photo of the tree.

See also

Farjon (1990) provides a detailed account, with illustrations.

Last Modified 2013-02-24