Abies nordmanniana (Steven) Spach

Caucasian Fir

A densely branched, eventually columnar tree growing to about 35 m tall but generally much smaller. Shoots slightly hairy in ridges, becoming hairless and shiny, brownish. Buds ovoid, pale brown, not resinous. Leaves 20-35 mm long, about 2 mm wide, glossy dark green above, pale with 2 white bands below, those on the lower side of the shoot growing sideways and slightly forwards, those above face forwards. Cones in upper branches, cylindric, 10-15 cm long, 5 cm wide, brown and resinous.

Grows naturally on the southern and SE shores of the Black Sea and western Caucasus at alt. 1000-2000 m in forests with Picea orientalis. Naturalised on the South Island of New Zealand.


Buds non-resinous; leaves shining dark green, directed forwards on upper surface, bright white bands below. Abies alba Mill., Silver Fir from America and Europe, is very similar and a few specimens may be found in cultivation; it differs in having spreading leaves on the upper side of the branch, greyish shoots, and leaves not so white below.

NSW: Bowral (Heritage Park); Guyra (Church of St Columba); Mt Wilson ('Cherry Cottage'; 'Yengo' ptd c. 1887); Ournie (Jephcott Arboretum). VIC: Ballarat (Bot. Gds); Colac (Bot. Gds); Creswick (Forestry School by old residence, c. 22 m in 1990); Daylesford (Wombat Hill); Kyneton (Bot. Gds); Narbethong ('Hermitage'); Mt Macedon ('Alton'); Narbethong ('St Fillans', 34 m tall in 1994); Tawonga (Tree given by F. Mueller as gift to Frederick Roper of Mount York. A plant grown from seed of this tree is now at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne on Central Lake promontory opposite &NE of kiosk c. 3 m tall in 1990). TAS: Hobart (Royal Tasmanian Bot. Gds; Queens Domain); Launceston (Cataract Gorge).

Source: Spencer, R. (1995). Pinaceae. In: Spencer, R.. Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 1, Ferns, conifers & their allies. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.

Distribution map

Abies nordmanniana 'Golden Spreader'

Dwarf, slow-growing, flat-topped, spreading, golden yellow to brownish, best in winter, leaves slightly curved. Originated as seedling in nursery of S. N. Schoots, Culemborg, Netherlands; introduced to trade by F. Kronijn, Boskoop, Netherlands, 1961.

kingdom Plantae
phylum   Tracheophyta
class    Pinopsida
order     Pinales
family      Pinaceae
genus       Abies Mill.