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Abies balsamea (Linnaeus) P. Miller. Section: Balsamea. Balsam Fir, Northern Balsam, Blister Pine, Fir Pine. Phen: Apr-May. Hab: High elevation forests and cliffs (in VA and northwards); high elevation frost-pocket wetlands (WV), northwards somewhat more general in cool, mountain areas. Dist: NL (Newfoundland) and NL (Labrador) west to n. AB, south to NY, PA, MI, WI, and IA, and (disjunct) in the mountains to n. VA and e. WV.

Origin/Endemic status: Native

Taxonomy Comments: There has been considerable debate over the taxonomic status of some, especially southern, populations of A. balsamea, which show some transition in characters toward A. fraseri, and have been variously treated as A. intermedia Fulling, A. balsamea var. phanerolepis Fernald, or A. ×phanerolepis (Fernald) Liu. Variation in e. North American Abies is somewhat clinal, with the greatest geographical and morphological discontinuity between n. VA and s. VA. It seems best, therefore, to recognize A. fraseri as a species and A. balsamea as a species (which includes the clinal var. phanerolepis).

Other Comments: The balsam woolly adelgid, an alien pest, is afflicting this species in Shenandoah National Park.

Synonymy: = C, FNA2, K1, K3, K4, Mi, NE, NY, Pa, Va, W, Liu (1971), Price (1989); > Abies ×phanerolepis (Fernald) T.S.Liu – Liu (1971); > Abies balsamea (L.) Mill. – Fulling (1936); > Abies balsamea (L.) Mill. var. balsamea – F, G; > Abies balsamea (L.) Mill. var. phanerolepis Fernald – F, G, WV; > Abies intermedia Fulling – Fulling (1936)

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Wetland Indicator Status:

  • Eastern Mountains and Piedmont: FAC
  • Great Plains: FAC
  • Midwest: FACW
  • Northcentral & Northeast: FAC

Heliophily ?: 4

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image of plant© Scott Ward | Original Image ⭷
image of plant© Gary P. Fleming | Original Image ⭷
image of plant© Gary P. Fleming | Original Image ⭷
image of plant© Erik Danielson source | Original Image ⭷
image of plant© Erik Danielson source | Original Image ⭷

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