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Search for native plants by scientific name, common name or family. If you are not sure what you are looking for, try the Combination Search or our Recommended Species lists.

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Abies bracteata

Abies bracteata (D. Don) D. Don ex Poit.

Bristlecone Fir

Pinaceae (Pine Family)

Synonym(s): Abies venusta


USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

The rarest of the firs, with narrow, conical, spirelike crown of short, slightly drooping branches. The entire natural range of this rare species is limited to a coastal strip about 60 miles (97 km) long within Los Padres National Forest.


From the Image Gallery

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Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Tree
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Shape: Linear
Leaf Pubescence: Glabrous
Breeding System: Flowers Unisexual , Monoecious
Fruit Type: Cone
Size Notes: 30 to 100 feet.
Fruit: Cones are purplish-brown.
Size Class: 36-72 ft. , 72-100 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow , Green
Bloom Time: Mar
Bloom Notes: Male catkins yellow.


Native Distribution: Santa Lucia Mountains of S. California; at 2000-5000' (610-1524 m); locally at 600' (183 m).
Native Habitat: Steep, rocky slopes and canyons; in mixed evergreen forests.

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Sun


Interesting Foliage: yes


Propagation Material: Seeds , Softwood Cuttings
Seed Treatment: Stratify seeds 3 to 4 months.
Maintenance: Pruning is not necessary.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Santa Barbara Botanic Garden - Santa Barbara, CA

Additional resources

USDA: Find Abies bracteata in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Abies bracteata in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Abies bracteata


Record Modified: 2021-02-05
Research By: TWC Staff

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