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Abies forrestii var. ferreana

Abies forrestii var. ferreana - Ferre's fir
  • Abies forrestii var. ferreana - Ferre's fir - Click to enlarge
  • Abies forrestii var. ferreana branches - Click to enlarge
  • Abies forrestii var. ferreana leaves - Click to enlarge


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Product Information


Scientific name: Abies forrestii var. ferreana   (Bordères & Gaussen) Farjon & Silba  1990

Synonyms: Abies chayuensis W.C.Cheng & L.K.Fu, Abies ferreana Bordères & Gaussen, Abies forrestii subsp. chayuensis (W.C.Cheng & L.K.Fu) Silba, Abies forrestii var. chayuensis (W.C.Cheng & L.K.Fu) Silba, Abies forrestii subsp. ferreana (Bordères & Gaussen) Silba, Abies forrestii subsp. longibracteata (L.K.Fu & Nan Li) Silba, Abies rolii Bordères & Gaussen, Abies yuana Bordères & Gaussen

Common names: Ferre's fir (English), Zhong dian leng shan (Chinese)



Tree to 20(-30) m tall, with trunk to 1(-1.2) m in diameter. Bark gray, reddening and becoming fissured with age. Branchlets hairless to very fuzzy, especially in the shallow grooves between the leaf bases. The twigs of this variety are reddish brown or dark brown in their first year, densely rusty brown pubescent, with the cone bract apex acuminate or cuspidate, usually exserted and reflexed. Buds 4-10 mm long, thickly coated with white to yellowish resin. Needles arranged to the sides in several rows and also rising above the twigs and angled forward to cover them, 1-2.5 cm long, shiny dark green to bluish green above, the tip usually notched but sometimes bluntly to sharply pointed. Individual needles flat or a little plump in cross section and with a resin canal on either side touching the lower epidermis. Pollen cones 20-35 mm long, purple. Seed cones elongate egg-shaped to cylindrical, 5-8 cm long, 3-4cm across, dark purple when young, maturing purplish or blackish brown. Bract body about as long as the minutely fuzzy seed scales, with a projecting tip and sticking straight up between the scales, or sometimes curled back over them. Persistent cone axis broadly conical or swollen in the middle. Seed body 7-10 mm long, the wing about as long.

Bordères-Rey & Gaussen named Abies ferreana in 1947 for the French botanist Yvette de Ferré (1915 - 2003) who at the time had ‘already published beautiful works on conifers’ (Bordères-Rey & Gaussen 1947).

Endemic to China: Yunnan, SE Xizang (Tibet). It has been recorded from Zhongdian as far west as the Doshong La in Xizang; 3,000-4,200 m.


Conservation Status

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern

Abies forrestii var. ferreana is assessed as Least Concern based on its broad distribution and the relative stability other subpopulations. Although a significant decline as a result of deforestation, logging and grazing has occurred in the Zhongdian area, this represents a relatively small part of the total population and distribution. If declines occur in other areas, then a full reassessment will be necessary.

This taxon occurs in pure or mixed forests in the upper temperate and subalpine zones.  The population is fragmented by natural features such as the deep river valleys in the area.  It is also severely fragmented in the Zhongdian area by deforestation for grazing and for logging where different conifer taxa have been replanted. Grows in cool temperate and subalpine forests, mainly pure but also occurring in small mixtures with Betula and other conifers.

Logging, especially when followed by grazing (as at Zhongdian where there are yaks), by fire and by the planting of other conifer species are the main threats. The timber of this variety has been used for construction and for pulp.

The Government of China has recently imposed a logging ban in western China. It is desirable from a conservation perspective than any replanting of logged forests uses locally sourced nursery stock.


Cultivars: -



  • 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 CodeABI5XH2060
Weight1.5 kg
Height10 - 15 cm

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