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KOREAN FIR

Abies koreana

Pine Family [Pinaceae]

Leaves:
leaves8Jan leaves8Feb leaves8mar leaves8march leaves8apr leaves8april leaves8may leaves8jun leaves8june leaves8jul leaves8july leaves8Aug leaves8sep leaves8sept leaves8Oct leaves8Nov leaves8Dec

Cones (ripen):
cones8Jun cones8June cones8Jul cones8July cones8Aug

category
category8Trees
 
category
category8Coniferous
 
category
category8Evergreen
 
status
statusZalien
 
flower
flower8yellow
 
flower
flower8red
 
flower
flower8blue
cone
stem
stem8round
 
smell
smell8turps
turps
toxicity
toxicityZlowish
 
sex
sexZmonoecious
 

7th June 2013, pub garden, Scafell Bar, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
Conical in outline and quite short, but up to 15m in sheltered woodland where it is forced by lack of access to light by other taller trees. Branches in distinct whorls up the trunk.


7th June 2013, pub garden, Scafell Bar, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
Striking blue-purple cones when un-ripe.


7th June 2013, pub garden, Scafell Bar, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
New leaves light-green.


7th June 2013, pub garden, Scafell Bar, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
Older leaves darker green. Cones are abundant on young trees.


7th June 2013, pub garden, Scafell Bar, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
Cones greyish purple-blue which ripen to brown later before disintegrating on the tree, so cannot be removed for decoration.


7th June 2013, pub garden, Scafell Bar, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
 Cones usually elongated egg-shaped, but othertimes dumpy. Needle-shaped widely-spaced leaves arranged spirally (in perhaps a 4-lead spiral).


7th June 2013, pub garden, Scafell Bar, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
Tips of needle leaves blunt. New shoots sprout from ends of branches in threes.


7th June 2013, pub garden, Scafell Bar, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
 The cones have a bluish-grey scales above slightly projecting bluish-purple scales having a long point.


7th June 2013, pub garden, Scafell Bar, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
 Scales bluish-grey; bracts purplish-blue with point. The spirally-set nature of the leaves can be seen here. They emerge from all around the branches.


7th June 2013, pub garden, Scafell Bar, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
 Bracts (purple) fringed. Scales (blue-grey) much thicker than bracts.


7th June 2013, pub garden, Scafell Bar, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
New shoots at end of branches at first capped by a brownish-green papery covering.


7th June 2013, pub garden, Scafell Bar, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
As the leaves within the new shoot grow, the papery covering is pushed off. This papery covering has an aromatic turpentine-like aroma.


7th June 2013, pub garden, Scafell Bar, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
The new leaves are at first crowded together, but will slowly separate as the shoot extends.


7th June 2013, pub garden, Scafell Bar, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
New leaves light-green, but are already whitish-green at the rear.


7th June 2013, pub garden, Scafell Bar, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
Leaves have two wide whitish-green bands on the back and gradually widen nearer the (blunt) end, which is either rounded, or notched. The needles are tough, between 1-2cm long and 2mm wide.


7th June 2013, pub garden, Scafell Bar, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
Bark of trunk has horizontal light-coloured marks.


7th June 2013, pub garden, Scafell Bar, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
Main branches covered in spirally-set light-coloured oval marks (lenticels).


7th June 2013, pub garden, Scafell Bar, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
The spirally-set light-coloured marks on main branches, presumably where leaves once were when it was much younger.


11th June 2010, in a tub, Glenridding village, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
The female cones in various degrees of undress. They ripen from the top downwards turning brown, with the interleaved scales and bracts falling off in the same order when ripe to leave an empty 'spindle'.


11th June 2010, in a tub, Glenridding village, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
The top scales and bracts have already fallen off, leaving the remaining stacks of scales looking like copper pennies still to fall off from the top downwards. These may grown into new plants if they fall on favourable soil.


11th June 2010, in a tub, Glenridding village, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
 The males cones are much smaller, first yellow then brown when ripe, and clustered near the ends of new branches (these are distinct from the new shoots which start as brown buds in threes at the ends of new branches).


11th June 2010, in a tub, Glenridding village, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD


Easily confused with : Fir Clubmoss (Huperzia selago) [a plant of similar name belonging to a differing order]

Not to be semantically confused with : Korean Pine (Pinus koriensis) [another coniferous tree with similar name]

Easily mistaken for : Pacific Silver Fir (Abies amabilis) which also has female cones sitting vertically on the upperside of branches but they are dark-green tinged purple and the needle leaves are longer at 30mm (as opposed to 18mm for Korean Fir). It too is planted as an ornamental tree in wetter areas of the British Isles but grows more than twice as high at up to 32m.

Some similarities to : Deodar (Cedrus deodora) which also has (much longer) female cones which are light-mauve in colour and which also sit atop branches vertically, but which grows even taller to 36m. This is widely planted in larger gardens and parks. But this tree is a Cedar rather than a Silver Fir.

Slight resemblance to : Noble Fir (Abies procera) but this is very tall at up to 50m.

Uniquely identifiable characteristics

Distinguishing Feature :

A native of Korea, Korean Fir is extremely popular slow-growing coniferous ornamental fir tree for small gardens since it does not grow very tall. Between 5 to 10m tall in gardens and 3-5m in diameter at the base, it can reach 15m in height when grown in a wood. It has a neat pyramidal shape with main side-branches set in whirls. The cones are bluish-purple at first, ripening to brown, whereupon the stacks of interleaved scales and bracts gradually fall off from the top. The cones therefore do not fall off the tree whole as they do on many other species of coniferous tree and cannot be removed to use as ornaments.

It is monoecious with separate male and female flowers which are on the same plant. flowering from April to May with the much larger and upright female flower (the cone) being bluish-purple with both scales and bracts whilst the male flowers are yellowish, pendant and in clusters between the upper needles.

The bark is smooth and grey-green when young, darker grey with spot-like lenticels when older. Roots are close to the surface of the soil. It lives for 50 to 150 years.


  Abies koreana  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Pinaceae  

Distribution
 family8Pine family8Pinaceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Abies
Abies
(Silver Firs)

KOREAN FIR

Abies koreana

Pine Family [Pinaceae]