Lightscape: Brooklyn's New Winter Spectacular—Tickets On Sale Now

Gardening How-to Articles

Balsam Fir

Abies balsamea, including A. balsamea var. phanerolepis
Balsam Fir

Abies balsamea is native to eastern and central Canada and the northeastern United States from Minnesota to Maine, and south through the Appalachian Mountains and West Virginia. Balsam fir is a small-to medium-size evergreen that normally grows 45 to 65 feet tall but can reach heights up to 90 feet. Resin from the balsam fir is made into Canadian balsam, a clear glue used in glasses and for preparing microscope slides. Balsam fir boughs are often used for holiday crafts because the foliage retains its scent long after being cut.

Identifying Characteristics:

  1. Leaves are needlelike, at least four times longer than wide.
  2. Needles occur singly, not in clusters.
  3. Buds are round or egg-shaped and have blunt tips.
  4. Needles are attached directly to the stem.
  5. Mature needles are ½ to 1 inch long.
  6. Twigs have gray hairs.

Image, top of page: