{Almost} Wordless Wednesday :: Balsam Fir (Abies balsamea)

Posted on: December 4th, 2013 by Trillium Art
Oh, Tannenbaum! How lovely are thy branches... (*taken using and iPhone5s)

Oh, Tannenbaum! How lovely are thy branches… (*taken using my iPhone*)

Ah, the Christmas tree! So many memories of this holiday time have taken place in the presence of this symbol of Christmas. In our family we have always had a tree, and I have embraced my husband’s family tradition of having a real one in the house. This usually involves an adventure to a tree farm, finding just the perfect specimen and bringing it home where it is adorned with treasured family ornaments. It has now become part of now our family’s tradition and a highlight for the children as we add a new ornament each year.

Our tree of choice has always been in the fir family and this year, we have chosen a balsam fir from Hartman’s Evergreen Tree Farm. The balsam fir is a popular choice for a Christmas Tree due to it’s lovely dark green colour, wonderful light scent, fantastic needle retention and a tall, narrow form that tapers to thin point which fits perfectly in our dining room window. Once inside, some of the lower branches are usually trimmed off, making the perfect addition to our holiday greens decor.

Evergreen Swag with cedar, balsam fir, magnolia and a birch bark star.

Evergreen Swag with cedar, balsam fir, magnolia and a birchbark star.

This tree is found naturally growing on a wide range of soils in mixed stands with other species from Alberta to Newfoundland and Labrador and south to Pennsylvania. The tree was named for the balsam or resin found in the blisters on the bark. This resin has been known to treat wounds of the soldiers in the Civil War, but today it is used to make glue, balsam oil, turpentine and also to add fragrance to candles and soaps.

Since the wood of the balsam fir is soft and brittle, it is used primarily in the lumber trade for pulpwood, some light frame construction and interior knotty paneling and crates. It is very popular to our native wildlife as the moose and white-tailed deer browse the foliage and chickadees, squirrels and porcupine eat the seeds.

What tree are you welcoming into your home this holiday season?

Christmas Tree

Zone: 3

Light Conditions: full sun to light shade

Height: up to 75′ tall

Spread: up to 25′ wide

Fruit: the green cones with a purple tinge are barrel-shaped and turn a greyish brown while growing up to 4″ long, the seeds are dispersed in late summer

Leaves: the shiny, dark green needles are 1-2″ long with two white, silvery bands underneath

Bark: smooth and has a grayish colour with blisters of resin on some older trees

Tip: the root systems are quite shallow making the Balsam Fir vulnerable to high winds and heavy spring snow storms


Note the silvery bands underneath the dark green needles.

Note the silvery bands underneath the dark green needles.

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