TREES & plants

White fir

The white fir is a hardy and ornamental North American native evergreen. Its attractive, blue-green needles curve outward and upward on branches and, when crushed, emit a lemon scent. This choice plant tolerates a wide range of conditions, including drought, heat, and cold temperatures. 

Botanical name: 
Abies concolor
All Common Names: 
white fir, concolor fir, colorado fir
Family (English): 
Family (Botanic): 
Tree or Plant Type: 
  • Tree
Native Locale: 
  • North America
Planting Site: 
  • Residential and parks
Landscape Uses: 
  • Specimen
  • Shade
  • Massing
  • Screen
Size Range: 
  • Medium tree (25-40 feet)
  • Large tree (more than 40 feet)
Mature Height: 
30-50 feet
Mature Width: 
15-20 feet
Light Exposure: 
  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
  • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
Hardiness Zones: 
  • Zone 3
  • Zone 4
  • Zone 5
  • Zone 6
  • Zone 7
Soil Preference: 
  • Sandy soil
Acid Soils: 
  • Tolerant
Alkaline Soils: 
  • Moderately Tolerant
Salt Spray: 
  • Intolerant
Soil Salt: 
  • Intolerant
Drought Conditions: 
  • Tolerant
Poor Drainage: 
  • Intolerant
  • Evergreen (foliage year-round)
Season of Interest: 
  • Early winter
  • Mid winter
  • Late winter
Flower Color & Fragrance: 
  • Inconspicuous
Shape or Form: 
  • Pyramidal
Growth Rate: 
  • Slow
Transplants Well: 
  • Yes
  • Browsers
  • Game birds
  • Nesting birds
  • Small mammals
More Information: 

White fir (Abies concolor)White fir (Abies concolor)photo: John Hagstrom
Size and Form

30 to 50 feet high (although it can grow more than 75 feet high in the wild) and 15 to 30 feet wide
Pyramidal shape

Tree & Plant Care

Do not plant in heavy clay soil
Fir trees need very little pruning, but if pruning is needed do it in spring

Disease, pests, and problems

No serious problems

Disease, pest, and problem resistance

Tolerant of heat as well as cold temperatures

Native geographic location and habitat

Found in mountainous areas in the southwestern United States.

Bark color and texture

Bark is gray
On young trees the bark is relatively smooth; older trees are irregularly furrowed into broad flat ridges

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, texture, and color

Needles are flat and attached singly to the stems
2 inches long and curve outward and upward on branches
Color is blue-green

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Flowers are inconspicuous
Male pollen cones are red to red-purple; female flower cones are rose red and found in the upper portion of the tree

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

Cones are erect and cylindrical; 4 to 5 inches long
Color is pale green turning purplish as they mature