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Abies cephalonica

Abies cephalonica
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Product Information

Scientific name: Abies cephalonica Loudon  1838

Synonyms: Abies alba var. cephalonica (Loudon) Richt., Abies cephalonica var. arcadica Henkel & W. Hochst., Abies cephalonica var. parnassica Henkel & W. Hochst., Abies panachaica Heldr., Abies peloponnesiaca Haage ex K. Koch, Abies peloponnesica Haage ex Heldr., Abies reginae-amaliae Heldr., Picea cephalonica (Loudon) Loudon, Pinus abies var. cephalonica (Loudon) H. Christ, Pinus cephalonica (Loudon) Endl., Pinus picea var. graeca Fraas

Common names: Grecian fir, Greek fir, Apollo fir, Kukunaria, Elate (Greek)



Tree to 30 m tall, with trunk to 1(-2) m in diameter. Bark grayish brown, becoming furrowed with age. Branchlets not hairy, prominently grooved between the leaf bases. Buds 4.5-7 mm long, not resinous. Needles arranged straight out all around the twigs or twisting to point upward, (1.5-)1.8-3(-3.5) cm long, shiny dark green above, the tips variably pointed, often prickly. Individual needles flat or plumpish in cross section and with a resin canal on either side near the edge just inside the lower epidermis or well awayfrom it, with only a few stomates near the tip or with up to seven lines of stomates in the groove above and with 6-8(-10) lines in each white stomatal band beneath. Pollen cones 12-18 mm long, purplish red. Seed cones cylindrical, (10-)12-16 cm long, (3.5-)4-5 cm across, brownish green when young, maturing reddish brown. Bracts longer than the seed scales and bent back over them, sometimes almost covering them. Persistent cone axis narrowly conical. Seed body 6.5-9 mm long, the wing up to 1.5 times as long. Cotyledons five to seven.

Mountains of Greece. Forming pure stands or mixed with black pine (Pinus nigra) at higher elevations and with other species near its lower limit; (600-)900-1,600(-2,000) m.


Conservation Status

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern

Although a decrease in the population of the Greek Fir (Abies cephalonica) has been reported during the last five decades (Politi et al. 2011), latterly mainly due to summer wild-fires, nevertheless the species has a widespread distribution in Greece. It is recorded from 11 main locations and typically most of these contain extensive stands. For example, in Mt. Aenos National Park it covers an area of 28,620 km² (Politi 2007) and this size of forest is quite typical for many other locations. Even though it is highly likely that there will be further loss of forest, especially as a result of summer wild-fires, it is thought that this will not be sufficient to warrant the species to be assessed against a category of threat in the foreseeable future. It has therefore been assessed as Least Concern. It grows in pure stands, or occasionally with Juniperus oxycedrus, usually at higher elevations, while at lower elevations can be found in association with Fagus orientalis, Quercus spp, Castanea sativa and Pinus nigra (Papanikolaou 2006). The Greek fir grows on soils derived from a variety of parent materials such as limestone, dolomites, shale, serpentine, sandstone, mica-schist and argillic-schist with pH ranging from 5 to 8 (Panetsos 1975). The greatest current-day threat is from fire to which the species is not adapted and in recent years several fires have destroyed important stands. It is afforded protection in a number of national parks including; Cephalonia N.P., Mt. Parnassos N.P. and Mt. Oeti N.P. (Duffey 1982). In all of these National Parks it forms extensive forests and the sub-populations are considered to be stable. However, the population in the Mt. Parnitha National Park was reduced by 2,180 ha in 2007 due to fire.




  • Farjon, A. (2010). A Handbook of the World's Conifers. Koninklijke Brill, Leiden.
  • Eckenwalder, J.E. (2009) Conifers of the World: The Complete Reference. Timber Press, Portland.
  • IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. Cambridge, UK /Gland, Switzerland

Copyright © Aljos Farjon, James E. Eckenwalder, IUCN, Conifers Garden. All rights reserved.

Product CodeABIHI6NN91

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