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Abies squamata

Abies squamata - Flaky fir description


Scientific name: Abies squamata  Masters  1906

Synonyms: -

Common names: Flaky fir, Paperbark fir (English), Linpi leng shan (Chinese)



Tree to 40 m tall, trunk to 1(-1.6) m in diameter. Bark purplish brown, soon peeling in thin, papery flakes (hence the common and scientific names, “scaly”) and ultimately becoming blocky. Branchlets densely hairy, prominently grooved between the leaf bases. Buds 4-6 mm long, covered with a thin, white resin that soon wears off. Needles on lower branches arranged predominantly to the sides, those on higher branches with seed cones pointing upward, (1-)1.5-3 cm long, green or bluish green above, the tips blunt or sharp or even prickle-tipped in young trees. Individual needles flat or a little plump in cross section and with a resin canal on either side of the midrib halfway out to the edge and well away from the lower epidermis but even farther from the upper one, with 3-7(-15) broken lines of stomates in the groove above near the tip and seven to nine lines in each white to greenish white stomatal band beneath. Pollen cones 2-3 cm long, purple. Seed cones oblong, 5-7(-8) cm long, 2-3(-4) cm across, violet when young, maturing violet brown to almost black. Bracts about as long as the slightly hairy seed scales and with their tips sticking up or down between them. Persistent cone axis swollen below the middle. Seed body 5-6 mm long, the wing a little longer. Cotyledons four or five.

South-central China from southern Gansu and southern Qinghai through Sichuan to southeastern Xizang (Tibet) and northern Yunnan. Forming pure stands or mixed with other conifers and hardwoods, predominantly in subalpine forest; (3,000)3,500-4,200(-4,700) m.


Conservation Status

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable



Abies squamata ’Flakey’


Attribution from: Conifers Garden