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Abies densa

Abies densa - Sikkim fir description


Scientific name: Abies densa  W. Griffith  1854

Synonyms: Abies fabri subsp. fordei (Rushforth) Silba, Abies fordei Rushforth, Abies spectabilis subsp. densa (Griff.) Silba, Abies spectabilis var. densa (Griff.) Silba

Common names: Sikkim fir, Himalayan red fir



Tree to 50(-60) m tall, with trunk to 2.5 m in diameter. Bark gray, becoming flaky and then ridged and furrowed with age. Branchlets reddish brown (hence the common name), distinctly grooved between the leaf bases, with or without some dark brown hairs in the grooves. Buds about 8 mm long, a little resinous. Needles arranged to the sides and above the twigs, (1.3-)2.5-5 cm long, light green above, the tips notched. Individual needles flat in cross section with the margins rolled under and with a small resin canal on either side near the edge just inside the lower epidermis, without stomates above and with 8-12 lines of stomates in each white stomatal band beneath. Pollen cones 20-40(-50) mm long, violet. Seed cones cylindrical, 8-12(-15) cm long. 3.5-5(-6) cm across, dark violet when young, maturing dark purplish brown. Bracts as long as or a little shorter than the seed scales and often just peeking out between them, especially near the bottom of the cone. Persistent cone axis narrowly conical. Seed body 5-8 mm long, the wing up to 1.5 times as long. Cotyledons four to six.

Eastern Himalaya from eastern Nepal to Arunachal Pradesh (India) and adjacent China in Xizang (Tibet). Forming pure stands or mixed with other conifers and hardwoods in a distinct belt within the montane forest (2,450-)2,750-3,750(4,200) m. The climate is extremely wet, with well-marked monsoons and an annual precipitation of more than 2,000 mm.


Conservation Status

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern


Varieties: -


Attribution from: Conifers Garden