Species list


Abies alba

Silver fir, European silver fir

Silver fir, European silver fir (Eng), abeto, pinabete, abeto común (Spa), avet (Cat), izei zuria (Baq), abeto (Glg), aveto-branco (Por).


“Vario, in the twilight, was writing with quick style, quietly ripping through the thin layer of wax on the polished fir”.

‘Vario’, Leopoldo Alas, ‘Clarín’


Large robust tree, with whitish bark and pyramidal form, that can reach a height of more than 50 m in exceptional cases. The branches are arranged in a regular pattern around the main trunk. The leaves are 1-3 cm long, bright green, persistent, needle-like (acicular), although flattened and somewhat flexible, and there are two whitish bands on the underside. In the upper part of the crown the leaves terminate in a small point, but in the lower part they are notched at the tip, in contrast to those of the Spanish fir (Abies pinsapo Boiss). Their arrangement on the twigs makes them look like two rows on two planes. This tree has small male cones that bear the pollen. The female cones are formed of triangular woody scales inside which are the seeds, grouped into pairs, with a membranous wing that sticks out, differentiating this species from other firs. The cones are found high up, erect on the branches, and split apart when they ripen in the autumn of the following year.


This tree grows in mixed forests with beech or pines, or forms pure forests. It prefers deep, cool soils on slopes and the shady areas in the mountains. It needs quite a lot of humidity in the subsoil and the atmosphere, and it suffers both in prolonged summer droughts and late frosts. So much so, that its range in Iberia has been significantly reduced, partly because of the changes leading towards a more Mediterranean climate. It is indifferent to soil type and lives at altitudes of 700 m to 2000 m.


The silver fir is native to Europe and is found in the mountains in the centre and south of the continent. On the Iberian Peninsula it currently lives in a natural way in the Pyrenees (the densest masses are found in Lérida), the Montseny massif, and the Guara range in the Pre-Pyrenees in Aragón.