White Fir

Basic Information
Tree ID: 
Genus and species: 
The white fir is native to the mountainous regions of the Pacific coast to central Colorado, and from central Oregon and southeastern Idaho to northern Mexico. They can grow in a variety of environments, from high elevation with long, snowy winters to lower elevation with warmer weather and lower precipitation. It is a monoecious species, with densely grouped reddish male cones and larger brown female cones. It is a genetically adaptable and plastic species that has been known to hybridize with other firs. The white fir has two primary uses: in construction as timber, and as Christmas trees. As such, they are commercially grown and harvested. The biggest threat to the white fir are predatory animals. The fir engraver beetle, for example, can damage up to 2.4 million cubic meters of harvest stock per year. Rodents such as the pocket gopher and grazers such as deer can also stunt their growth, and in extreme cases, outright kill mature trees. Our specimen in New Haven serves an aesthetic rather than commercial purpose and seems to have thankfully remained safe from predators.
Emily Gudbranson and Kevin Su
Collected Data
Date of tree entry: 
9.73 m
Diameter at breast height: 
0.14 m

Trunks are ashy gray and divided by deep irregular furrows in thick, horny flattened ridges. Young stems have conspicuous resin blisters
Twigs & branches
The white fir has strong sturdy branches that hold their shape. Needles extend at nearly right angles from all sides of the twig.
The white fir has 2-3 inch long, silvery green/blue needles. They are flattened and acute or rounded at the apex.
  • Spring
Natural range of distribution: 
White fir is found in areas characterized by a moderately humid climate with long winters and moderate to heavy deposits of snow. It is found principally where precipitation exceeds 20 inches; however, best development is in areas where precipitation is 35 to 75 inches annually. Most white fir is found at elevations of 4,000 to 10,000 feet along the western Sierra Nevada. White fir is distributed primarily throughout the western United States.
Origin, history, and uses: 


  • Timber
    • Used for lumber, boxes and crates, planning mill products, sashes, doors, and general mill work and pulpwood
    • Light weight, easy to work, and relatively free from splitting when nailed
    • Holds nails only moderately well
  • Ornamental
    • White fir makes an excellent Christmas tree for the following reasons
      • it has a delightful aroma
      • it retains its needles well after cutting
      • it has strong sturdy branches that hold their shape.
    • It is highly regarded as an ornamental or specimen tree in colder, moister climates.
  • Wildlife
    • White fir cones are eaten by squirrels and other rodents.
    • Seedlings are often browsed extensively by deer.
    • Porcupines will gnaw the bark.
    • White fir makes good winter roosting trees for grouse, which often feed on the buds and needles. 
Media and Arts


The White Fir is no longer in this location, and has either been cut down or relocated to an unknown location during renovations near Hillhouse Ave.