Skip Navigation

Species Search:
FieldGuidesthreatened and/or endangered search resultsthreatened and/or endangered

previous  | next

Bristlecone Fir Abies bracteata


Get Our Newsletters


Advanced Search

Alternate name: Santa Lucia Fir, Silver Fir

Family: Pinaceae, Pine view all from this family

Description Rarest fir in the world, with a slender, spire-like form. Bark thin, smooth, reddish-brown, wrinkles with age, lines and resin 'blisters'. Branches downswept. Needle-like leaves arranged spirally on shoot, twisted at base, spreading either side of the shoot in two moderately forward-pointing ranks with a 'v' gap above shoot; hard and stiff sharply pointed tip, 3.5-6 cm. long and 2.5-3 mm. broad, with two bright white stomatal bands on the underside. Cones ovoid, 6-9 cm. long to 12 cm including the bracts, bracts end in very long, spreading, yellow-brown bristles 3-5 cm. long; they disintegrate in autumn releasing winged seeds. Male pollen cones 2 cm. long, shedding pollen in spring.

Dimensions Height: 12-30 m. (40-100 ft.)
Diameter: 0.3-0.9 m. (1-3 ft.).

Habitat Mountains, Canyons & valleys.

Range California.

Discussion Spanish missions used resin as incense. Lowest stand found at Ventana Camp on the Big Sur River at the bottom of 300-ft. canyon, in the frequently foggy redwood belt. Also called Santa Lucia Fir.