Californian Red Fir (Abies magnifica)

Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Californian Red Fir
Abies magnifica
Pinaceae

Wood – light, soft, fairly durable, not strong. Largely used for fuel, and occasionally for lumber, cases and pulp[46, 61, 82, 229].

  • Medicinal Use

    None known

  • Edible Use

    None known

  • Cautionary Notes

    None known

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – sow early February in a greenhouse or outdoors in March[78]. Germination is often poor, usually taking about 6 – 8 weeks[78]. Stratification is said to produce a more even germination so it is probably best to sow the seed in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe in the autumn[80, 113]. The seed remains viable for up to 5 years if it is well stored[113]. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on for at least their first winter in pots. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Alternatively, if you have sufficient seed, it is possible to sow in an outdoor seedbed. One report says that it is best to grow the seedlings on in the shade at a density of about 550 plants per square metre[78] whilst another report says that they are best grown on in a sunny position[80].
Requires a cool position in a good moist but not water-logged soil[1]. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Very shade tolerant, especially when young, but growth is slower in dense shade[81]. Intolerant of atmospheric pollution[1]. Prefers slightly acid conditions down to a pH of about 5[200]. Prefers growing on a north-facing slope[1, 200]. A slow-growing and long-lived tree in the wild[229], it is a very ornamental plant[1] but seems to be short-lived in Britain[185]. Growing better in the cooler and rainier parts of Britain, it is at its best in the Perthshire valleys of Scotland, though it will probably also do well in the drier areas of the country if given a sheltered position and a moist soil[11]. The rate of growth in Britain is not exceptional, an increment of 30 cm per annum is about the best recorded[185]. Growth in girth, at least for the first 50 years is more rapid[185]. This species produces prolific crops of seeds from about the age of 25 years. Heavy crops are produced every 2 – 3 years, alternating with years of low seed production[229]. Trees should be planted into their permanent positions when they are quite small, between 30 and 90cm in height. Larger trees will check badly and hardly put on any growth for several years. This also badly affects root development and wind resistance[200]. Plants are strongly outbreeding, self-fertilized seed usually grows poorly[200]. They hybridize freely with other members of this genus[200]. Trees are susceptible to damage by aphis[1, 11]. The branches are subject to wind breakage[71].
South-western N. America – Oregon to California.

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.