Common Name: balsam fir

Scientific Name: 
Family: Pinaceae 
Genus: Abies
Species: balsamea

Hardiness Zone: 3 to 6
Height: 50 to 70 ft
Width: 15 to 25 ft


Balsam fir is a popular Christmas tree known for its fresh fragrance and long-lasting needles. The trees’ buds are small, waxy, and egg-shaped. Balsam fir bark is gray to dull green with blisters right under the surface that are filled with sticky resin. These blisters spray the fragrant resin on whatever or whoever ruptured them. The needles on a balsam fir are flat, and when examined closely, appear to be attached to the smooth twig by a suction cup. Needles are ¾ - 1” long and have a whitish-gray side and a deep green side. When in full sunlight, the needles are evenly distributed around the entirety of the twig-like a bottle brush. In the shade, the needles will splay out flat with the gray side down in an effort to get as much sunlight as possible. Balsam fir cones are 2-4” long, sit upright on the branch, and break apart as they age to spread seed.

balsam fir foliage