- Subalpine fir grows in higher mountain elevations. It has a spire-shaped crown that has a diameter of 1 foot or less. The tree provides food and shelter during the summer for moose, deer, elk and bear. Seeds are regularly eaten by smaller mammals and birds. Native Americans had many uses for this fir tree, and bark was boiled to produce an antiseptic and a curative tea for colds. Today, resin from subalpine bark is used in the optical industry for lenses and microscope slides.
- White fir is found on the West Coast and is prevalent in the states of California, Oregon, Arizona and New Mexico. The white fir produces seeds in cones that form in the uppermost layers of its branches. The seeds germinate in the spring, directly after the winter snows have melted. The wood of the white fir is used in construction and for plywood. Young white firs are also popular Christmas trees in California.
- The balsam fir, also called the eastern fir, is a very important tree for wildlife in the United States and Canada. It is also one of the most popular varieties of Christmas tree. In the United States, the balsam fir is native to the Midwest and East Coast of the country. Because balsam firs have shallow root systems, they can be damaged by high winds. The tree is relied on by moose as a winter food source and is used for shelter by deer.
Santa Lucia Fir
- The Santa Lucia fir, also called the bristlecone fir, is native to California. Its scientific name is the Abies bracteata. At a rate of 3 to 4 feet every seven years, this fir grows slowly and is a good garden tree. The Santa Lucia fir tree grows very symmetrically and has light green needles. It prefers climates with 30 to 70 feet of rainfall per year. The Santa Lucia fir produces small yellow flowers and prefers shade to direct sunlight.