Balsam Fir vs. Fraser Fir

Balsam Fir and Fraser Fir are closely related species and may have evolved from one species long ago.

Balsam Fir (Abies balsamea)

Both have shiny dark green upper needles which have white dots beneath.

Balsam Fir (Abies balsamea)

The bark is grayish and smooth with raised resin blisters when young. With age, they break into irregular brownish scales.

Balsam Fir (Abies balsamea)

These firs are medium-sized trees growing up to 25 m high.

Balsam Fir (Abies balsamea)

Buds are broadly ovoid, 5mm long and resinous:

Balsam and Fraser Fir are adaptable to a variety of soils and climates.

Balsam Fir (Abies balsamifera)

Balsam firs are found in Canada and the northern United States. Fraser firs grow in the southern Appalachian Mountains and in parts of Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee. The Fraser fir is sometimes known as the southern balsam fir.

Both trees make excellent Christmas trees for their needle retention, deep green color, ideal shape and pleasing scent.

The main difference between Balsam and Fraser Fir is the construction of their cones:

Balsam Fir
Balsam Fir
Fraser Fir (photo: flickr)
Fraser Fir (photo: wikipedia)

Miles Hearn

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