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Abies grandis

Abies grandis (Douglas ex D. Don) Lindl.

Grand Fir, Giant Fir

Pinaceae (Pine Family)

Synonym(s): Abies grandis f. johnsonii, Abies grandis ssp. idahoensis, Abies grandis var. grandis, Abies grandis var. idahoensis


USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

One of the tallest true firs, with narrow, pointed crown of stout, curved, and slightly drooping branches.

Common and scientific names refer to the large size; the champion in Olympic National Park, Washington, is 231' (70.4 m) tall with a circumference of 20'8" (6.3 m). Like those of related species, the smooth bark of small trunks has swellings or blisters; when pinched or opened, fragrant, transparent resin or balsam squirts out. Low to mid elevation south-coastal BC and Kootenay Lake.


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Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Tree
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Shape: Linear
Breeding System: Flowers Unisexual , Monoecious
Fruit Type: Cone
Size Notes: Up to more than 200 feet tall.
Leaf: Green

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Green
Bloom Time: Apr , May


USA: CA , ID , MT , OR , WA
Canada: BC
Native Distribution: S. B.C. to w. MT, s. to n.w. CA
Native Habitat: Low, wooded hills & valleys near the coast

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry , Moist
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Soil Description: Well-drained soils.


Use Other: Kwakwada'wakw shamans wove its branches into head-dresses and costumes and used the branches for scrubbing individuals in purification rites.
The Hesquiat used its branches as incense and decorative clothing for wolf dancers. (pojar/mackinnon)
Occasionally used as a fuel. Some interior peoples, Okanagan, made canoes from its bark.
The pitch was applied to bows for a secure grip and rubbed on paddles and scorched for a good finish.
A brown dye from its bark was used in basketry by the Straits Salish, along with a pink dye made by mixing the brown dye with red ochre.
Its knots were shaped, steamed and carved into halibut hooks and other types of fish hooks by the Ditidaht, Staits Salish and other coastal groups. (pojar/ mackinnon)
Sometimes mixed with stinging nettles, it was boiled and the decoction used for bathing and as a general tonic by the Kwakwaka'wakw and other peoples.
The Lushootseed boiled its needles to make a medicinal tea for colds.
The Ditidaht sometimes brought its boughs inside as an air freshener or burned them as an incense and to make a purifying smoke to wark off sickness.
The bark was crushed with the barks of red alder and western hemlock and made into an infusion that the Ditidaht drank for internal injuries.
The Hesquiat mixed the pitch of young grand fir trees with oil and rubbed it on the scalp as a deodorant and to prevent balding. (pojar/mackinnon).
Fragrant Foliage: yes


Description: Abies spp. are best propagated by seeds sown in early spring. In nature, Abies seeds often germinate on melting snow fields.
Seed Collection: Cone scales bear two seeds at the base. Mature seed has a large wing and is ovoid to oblong. Seeds can be damaged easily. Seeds store best in a dry, cool environment.
Seed Treatment: Straification for 3 months at 30 degrees improves germination.
Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

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

Web Reference

Webref 30 - Calflora (2018) Calflora
Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2023-05-31
Research By: TWC Staff

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