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Abies cilicica

Abies cilicica
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Product Information

Scientific name: Abies cilicica  (Antoine & Kotschy) Carrière  1855

Synonims: Abies kotschyana Fenzl ex Tchich., Abies rinzii Gordon, Abies selinusia Carrière, Abies tchugatskoi Lawson ex Gordon, Picea cilicica (Antoine & Kotschy) Rauch. ex Gordon, Pinus cilicica Antoine & Kotschy, Pinus tchugatskoi Fisch. ex Henkel & Hochst.

Common names: Cilician fir, Syrian fir, Taurus fir, Toros göknarı (Turkish)



Tree to 30 m tall, with trunk to 0.7(-1) m in diameter. Bark gray, becoming flaky and then furrowed with age. Branchlets with scattered short brown hairs or none, grooved between the leaf bases. Buds 3-4 mm long, not resinous or with sparse resin. Needles straight, angled forward, arranged to the sides and above the twigs, 2.5-4 cm long, bright green above, the tips bluntly pointed, rounded, or notched. Individual needles flat in cross section and with a resin canal on either side near the edge usually just inside the lower epidermis but sometimes deep within, usually without stomates in the groove above and with six or seven rows of stomates in each greenish white stomatal band beneath.  Pollen cones 10-15 mm long, red. Seed cones cylindrical 15-20(-30) cm long, 4-6 cm across, green when young, maturing reddish brown. Bracts usually much shorter than the scales and hidden by them, occasionally just poking straight out between them. Persistent cone axis narrowly conical. Seed body 9-12 mm long, the wing a little longer. Cotyledons or eight (or nine).

Mountains of Lebanon and south-central Turkey, in the western and central Taurus Ranges (ancient Cilicia, hence the species name). Forming pure stands or mixed with cedar of Lebanon (Cedrus libani) and other conifers and also with evergreen hardwoods at lower elevations; 1,000-1,800(-2,100) m.


Conservation Status

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened

Abies cilicica has a relatively wide distribution in Turkey, Lebanon and Syria with an estimated area of occupancy of 3,397 km2. The small subpopulations of the typical subspecies in Lebanon and Syria are both heavily degraded and should be considered Critically Endangered at the national level. The Mediterranean vegetation of southern Turkey, especially the montane areas, is considered to be at high risk from climate change (Ozturk 2010). Records clearly show that summer temperatures are rising and in the last five decades the annual rainfall has decreased significantly. These trends are creating an increased risk of fire, and are also contributing to a decrease in the general health of the trees which in turn makes them more vulnerable to pathogen attack. The Taurus Mountains are also seeing a big increase in the number of tourist which also increases the risk of forest fire (Ozturk 2010). If these negative trends continue then this species could qualify for Vulnerable under the subcriteria for B2. However, at this stage an assessment of Near Threatened better reflects its relatively limited area of occupancy and the current extent of decline. In Turkey it can form pure forests but throughout its  range it mainly occurs in mixed forests mostly with Cedrus libani. In Turkey it can be associated with Juniperus excelsa, Juniperus oxycedrus, Populus tremula and Quercus libani, while in Syria it grows with Ostrya carpinifolia, Carpinus orientalis, Sorbus torminalis, Fraxinus ornus and Cerasus mahleb (Browicz 1982). It favours calcareous substrates which are shallow, rocky and well drained. There is local trade in timber from this species. The wood is used for indoor construction mainly as plywood. Abies cilicica is protected in a National Parks throughout its range. Examples of protected areas are: Lebanon: Horsh Ehden Nature Reserve; Turkey: Kovada Lake National Park; Olimpos-Beydağları National Park. Syria: Latakia Reserve.



  • 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 CodeABIJT4F821

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