Fragrant Evergreen, Christmas Tree, Bonsai
Balsam Fir is an aromatic, narrow, pyramidal, evergreen conifer with a spire-like crown. It typically grows to 50 to 70 feet tall and 15 to 25 feet wide. Resinous branches are densely clad with flattened, shiny, dark green needles to 1 inch long. Needles are unstalked with circular bases and are white-banded beneath. Smooth gray-brown bark (greenish when young but brown and scaly on older trees) is covered with blisters which contain a sticky aromatic resin.
Cylindrical seed cones, 2 to 4 inches long, appear at the crown. Cones are purple when young. As is distinctive with the Firs, the cones appear upright on the branches. Cones disintegrate (scales drop) after the seeds ripen, often leaving only the erect central spike of the cone axis.
Balsam Fir is native to moist woods and bottomlands in Northeastern United States and Canada. It is a primary component of the boreal forest that stretches across Canada.
Balsam Fir is one of the more important conifers in the northern United States and in Canada. It is used primarily for pulp and light frame construction and it is one of the most popular Christmas trees. Wildlife rely extensively on this tree for food and shelter.