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Abies bracteata

bristlecone fir

An evergreen, coniferous tree of slender habit, reaching up to 20 - 35m when mature. New distinctive shoots are non-resinous, long and spindle-shaped. Sharp-pointed, dark glossy needles, silvery green beneath, are among the longest and widest of all Abies, growing to 5cm long and 3 mm wide. They cover branches in 3 or 4 ranks. The species is also distinctive by its unique, golden-brown seed cones. Ovoid, up to 8cm long cones have large, protruding bracts with long, narrow, reflexed points, often covered with drops of resin.

Other common names
Santa Lucia fir
Synonyms
Abies venusta
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Size
Ultimate height
Higher than 12 metres
Time to ultimate height
20–50 years
Ultimate spread
4–8 metres
Growing conditions
Clay
Loam
Sand
Moisture
Moist but well–drained
pH
Acid, Neutral
Colour & scent
StemFlowerFoliageFruit
Spring Green Grey Silver
Summer Green Grey Silver Green
Autumn Green Grey Silver Brown
Winter Green Grey Silver
Position
  • Full sun
Aspect

East–facing or North–facing or South–facing or West–facing

Exposure
Exposed or Sheltered
Hardiness
H7
Botanical details
Family
Pinaceae
Native to the UK
No
Foliage
Evergreen
Habit
Columnar upright
Genus

Abies are evergreen conifers, often very tall, with whorled branches bearing flattened, linear leaves, often whitish beneath, and on the upper branches, large cones which break up whilst attached to the tree

Name status

Correct

Plant range
SW California

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How to grow

Cultivation

Grows best in deep, slightly acidic, moist but well-drained soils in cooler climates.

Propagation

Propagate by seed

Suggested planting locations and garden types
  • Architectural
  • City and courtyard gardens
Pruning

No pruning required

Pests

Generally pest-free, but may be affected by conifer aphid and adelgids.

Diseases

Generally disease-free, but may be affected by honey fungus.

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