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Grand Fir (Abies grandis)

A. excelsior.
Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Grand Fir
Abies grandis

The aromatic leaves are used as a moth repellent[169]. The boughs have been used in the home as an incense[257].

A pink dye can be obtained from the bark[226].

The dried and hardened pitch can be chewed as a tooth cleanser[257].

A powder made from the dried and crushed leaves was used as a baby powder by the N. American Indians[226].

The bark can be used as a waterproof covering material for buildings and canoes[257].

Wood – light, soft, coarse grained, not strong, not very durable. Used for interior work, cases, etc[46, 61, 82]. Of little value as a lumber, it is used mainly for pulp and fuel[229, 257].

  • Medicinal Use

    A gum that exudes from the bark is used externally as an ointment[245]. It has also been used as a wash for sore and infected eyes and as a gargle for sore throats[257]. A decoction is laxative and tonic, it is used to treat stomach problems[257]. Externally, the gum is applied as a poultice to cuts and sores[257].

    A decoction of the root bark or stem is used in the treatment of stomach problems and TB[257]. A poultice is applied to joints to ease rheumatism or to the chest to treat lung haemorrhages[257].

    A decoction of the leaves is used as a tonic and in the treatment of colds[257].

  • Edible Use

    Inner bark – cooked. It is usually dried, ground into a powder and then used as a thickening in soups etc or mixed with cereals when making bread[161]. It is best used in the spring when it is rich and juicy[213]. An emergency food, it is only used when all else fails[183].

    The gum from the trunk is hardened (probably in cold water[K]) and used as a chewing gum[257]. It can also be made into a drink[257].

    Young shoot tips are used as a tea substitute[183, 257].

  • 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].
Prefers a good moist but not water-logged soil[1]. Grows well in heavy clay soils and succeeds in poor sandy soils[185]. Very shade tolerant, especially when young, but growth is slower in dense shade[81]. Intolerant of atmospheric pollution[1]. Trees succeeds in very exposed positions, even if the top is blown out by the wind the trees make one or more new tops and continue growing with no loss of vigour[11, 185]. Prefers slightly acid conditions down to a pH of about 5[200]. Prefers growing on a north-facing slope[200]. This species thrives exceedingly well in the moister parts of Britain, where it grows very quickly[11]. It is cultivated for timber in W. and N. Europe[50]. Trees are slow growing for the first few years but they are then quite fast with trees growing 60 – 100cm in height and 8cm in girth per year even when they are quite large[1, 185]. New growth takes place from early May to July[185]. Trees grow best in the Perthshire valleys of Scotland and in the far west of Britain[11]. Some trees have reached heights in excess of 60 metres in 100 years in Wales and Scotland, making them amongst the tallest trees in Europe[200]. A very ornamental plant[1], it is rarely harmed by disease, insects or frost[1]. The crushed leaves have a fruity orange-flavoured aroma[185]. 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].
Western N. America – British Columbia to California, east to Montana and Idaho.

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.