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Abies fabri

Abies fabri - Faber fir description


Scientific name: Abies fabri  (Masters) Craib 1920

Synonyms: Abies delavayi var. fabri (Mast.) D.R.Hunt, Abies fabri subsp. fabri, Keteleeria fabri Mast., Pinus fabri (Mast.) Voss

Infraspecific taxa: Abies fabri subsp. minensis (Bordères & Gaussen) Rushforth 1986

Common names: Faber fir, Faber’s fir (English), Leng Shan, Pao Shan (Chinese)



Tree to 40 m tall, with trunk to 1(-1.5) in diameter. Bark light gray, darkening, browning, flaking, and then becoming deeply ridged and furrowed with are. Branchlets yellowish brown, with a few dark hairs in the grooves or glabrous. Buds 4-8(-12) mm long, coated with reddish brown resin. Leaves 1.5-3 cm long, shiny dark green above, the tips blunt or notched. Individual needles flat in cross section but with the margins rolled under, often covering the stomatal bands, with a small resin canal on either side touching the lower epidermis near the leaf margins, rolled leaf margins usually revealing part of the stomatal bands.  Pollen cones 20-35(-40) mm long, reddish purple. Seed cones oblong or barrel-shaped 6-11(-14) cm long, 3-4.5(-5.5) cm across, violet black with a thin waxy coating when young, maturing blackish brown. Seed scales flabellate-trapeziform, 1.4–2 × 1.6–2.4 cm at midcone; bracts cuneate-obovate or oblong-spathulate, broadly rounded at the apex, with only the cusps exserted and recurved or reflexed at maturity. Persistent cone axis swollen in the middle. Seed body 5-8 mm long, the wing a little shorter. Cotyledons four to six.

First collected in 1887 by the German missionary Ernst Faber (1839-1899) on Emei Shan in Sichuan, the fir which would bear his name was originally described, as a species of Keteleeria, in 1902. Its proper placement within Abies would only be formally published some years later, in 1920. 

Endemic to western Sichuan province, China; 2,000-3,600 m.       


Conservation Status

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable


Varieties: -


Attribution from: Conifers Garden