Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - The University of Texas at Austin information

 Native Plant Database

Abies magnifica

California red fir, Red fir

Pinaceae (Pine Family)

Abies magnifica (California red fir)
A 30-90 ft. fir with short, horizontal branches. The older bark is deeply fissured and dark red. When young, the evergreen foliage has a whitish coating. It later becomes blue-green. Large, handsome fir with an open conical crown rounded at tip and short, nearly horizontal branches. Named for its characteristic bark, this magnificent conifer forms almost pure forests at high altitudes along the western slopes of Sierra Nevada. It is common in Yosemite National Park.

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Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Tree
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Shape: Linear
Breeding System: Flowers Unisexual , Monoecious
Size Notes: 60 to 200 feet, 2 1/2 to 4 feet in diameter.
Leaf: Bluish-green
Size Class: 72-100 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Red , Green , Purple
Bloom Time: Apr , May
Bloom Notes: Male cones reddish-purple, female cones pale green.


USA: CA , NV , NY , OR
Native Distribution: S.w. OR, s. through mts. to c. CA & w. NV
Native Habitat: Dry slopes & ridges; 5000-9000 ft.

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Cold Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Well-drained soils.
Conditions Comments: Trunks are brittle and windfalls are frequent.


Use Ornamental: Used for Christmas trees.
Use Other: Early mountaineers prepared their beds by cutting and overlapping 2 rows of the plushy, aromatic boughs.
Interesting Foliage: yes
Fragrant Foliage: yes

Last Update: 2007-01-01