Plant Detail

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Abies balsamea

* Common Name:

balsam fir, Canada balsam, eastern fir, bracted balsam fir, blister fir, white fir

* Genus:

Abies

* Species:

balsamea

Subspecies:

* Family (scientific):

Pinaceae

* Family (common):

Pine

Synonyms :

* Distribution in Canada:

Alberta
Saskatchewan
Manitoba
Ontario
Quebec
New Brunswick
Nova Scotia
P.E.I.
Newfoundland
Nunavut

 

Photographer: Robert H. Mohlenbrock @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database.

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* denotes fields that are currently complete in the database. The other information is not yet complete.

Habitat

Ecozone(s):

Arctic Cordillera
Taiga Shield
Boreal Shield
Atlantic Maritime
Boreal Plains
Prairies
Montane Cordillera
Hudson Plains

Natural Habitat(s):

Woodland (35-60% cover)
Riparian (edge)
Swamp/Marsh (nutrient rich)

Habitat Garden(s):

Woodland

Erosion Control? Yes

Characteristics
 
Growing Conditions

* Plant Type:

Tree

Moisture Requirements: Moist

Light Requirements: Sun, Partial Shade, Shade

Soil Requirements: Clay, Sand, Loam, Humus Enriched (forest floor)

Acidophile

Temperature Zone: 1

Evergreen?

Yes

Average Height:

15 to 25 m

Tolerances:

Flower Info
 
Fruit/Seed Info

Showy flowers?

No

Showy fruit/seeds?

Yes

Bloom time:

May to Jun

Edible for humans?

No

Flower Colour(s):

Yellow, Green/Brown

Fruit/Seed Colour(s):

Purple, Brown

Miscellaneous
 
Uses

Fragrant Flowers?

Yes

Urban Oasis, Stewards in the City, and Eco Superior are specific Evergreen programs that some plants are used in.

Fragrant Foliage?

Yes

Program & Other Uses:

Crafts
Culinary
Medicinal
Aboriginal

Fall colours?

No

Distinctive bark?

No

Poisonous to humans?

Thorns or prickles?

No

Attracts wildlife?

Squirrels
Birds

Larval host for:

Columbia silkmoth, Pine white butterfly (Neophasia menapia)

Provincial tree/flower?

Plant Watch species?

No

Interesting Tidbits
 
References

Attacked by spruce bud worm.

Wood is used for pulp and paper.
A common Christmas tree species. (TREEmendous)

Prefers north-facing slopes.

Edible parts of the plant (as a condiment, gum, tea) are the inner bark (cooked or chewed) and the resin blisters that are easily popped open on the bark.

There are various medicinal uses for this plant (perhaps most common is its use as a poultice). Plants for a future also cites uses as an analgesic, antiscorbutic, antiseptic,diuretic and stimulant.

By-products of resin: balsam oil and turpentine.

Balsam has the fortunate property of refracting light to exactly the same extent that glass does so that the balsam matrix, the cover glass, and the microscope lenses become one optical system with the same refractive index. (Peattie)

Sensory Aspects: Aromatic, with very sticky resin.

Canadian BIF Butterflies

Larval food plants

Northern Ontario Plant Dbase

NatureServe

Trees of Ontario
Linda Kershaw
Lone Pine Publishing
2001
ISBN 1-55105-274-1

TREEmendous trees and shrubs
The TREEmendous Saskatchewan Foundation Inc.
Campbell Printing Ltd.
Year of publication unknown
no ISBN number

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