Abies fraseri (Pursh) Poir.
Fraser Fir, She-balsam
Pinaceae (Pine Family)
Synonym(s): Pinus fraseri
USDA Symbol: ABFR
Common in virgin spruce-fir forests at Great Smoky Mountains National Park and at Mount Mitchell, North Carolina. With its silvery and green foliage, this species is grown for Christmas trees and ornament. Known locally as "She-balsam," because of the resin produced in the bark. In contrast, Red Spruce (Picea rubens) in the same forest but without resin blister is often called "He-balsam." John Fraser (1750-1811), the Scottish explorer, discovered this fir and introduced it and many other plants to Europe. The only native Southeastern fir, a handsome tree with pointed crown of silvery white aromatic foliage. The natural population of this species is currently being reduced by a European insect introduced via non-native firs, the Balsam Woolly Adelgid (Adelges piceae).
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Shape: Linear
Breeding System: Flowers Unisexual , Monoecious
Fruit Type: Cone
Size Notes: Up to about a 75 feet tall.
Leaf: Dark Green
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Purple
Bloom Time: Apr
DistributionUSA: GA , NC , TN , VA
Native Distribution: Appalachian Mountains in sw. Virginia, w. North Carolina, and e. Tennessee; at 4000-6000'
Native Habitat: Coniferous forests with Red Spruce in high mountains.
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Shade
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Find Seed or Plants
View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.
National Wetland Indicator Status
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE
BibliographyBibref 1198 - Bringing Nature Home: How Native Plants Sustain Wildlife in Our Gardens (2007) Tallamy, Douglas W.
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Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Abies fraseri in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Abies fraseri in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Abies fraseri
MetadataRecord Modified: 2015-08-05
Research By: TWC Staff