Balsam Fir (medium)
Balsam Fir is valued for its spicy fragrance, fine form, and wonderful color. It is a prized Christmas Tree species, and is the most aromatic and cold-hardy of all true firs. This tree grows in a vast range in the Northeast United States and throughout Canada, doing best in cool climates with abundant moisture. Still, it can thrive in a wide array of settings and soil types, from sea level to over 6,000 feet in elevation. A small to medium-sized tree, Balsam Fir features short, blunt needles in a bluish-green color, and, when mature, produces vertical 2" – 4" radiantly purple cones in its crown. Balsam Firs grow to a maximum height of around 100 feet tall, but are usually considerably shorter. They grow in a neat, pyramidal form with a dense crown that terminates in a slender spire. The most widely distributed and least fire-resistant fir in North America, Balsam Firs are wrapped in thin, ash-gray bark punctuated by numerous blisters filled with sticky, fragrant, liquid resin. Many animals — from Moose to birds — rely on Balsam Fir for food and shelter, and the resin has been used by humans for everything from pulmonary medicine to canoe sealant to deodorant to a specialized microscope slide cover glue used in the optics industry. This species is shade tolerant, has a relatively shallow root system (roots typically reach no lower than 3 feet), and can live for 200 years.