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Abies firma

Abies firma - Momi fir, Japanese fir, Momi
  • Abies firma - Momi fir, Japanese fir, Momi - Click to enlarge
  • Abies firma branches - Click to enlarge
  • Abies firma leaves - Click to enlarge


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Product Information


Scientific name: Abies firma  Siebold et Zuccarini  1842

Synonyms: Abies bifida Siebold & Zucc., Abies momi Siebold, Abies thunbergii Lindl., Picea firma (Siebold & Zucc.) Gordon, Picea thunbergii (Lindl.) Koehne, Picea webbiana Gordon, Pinus bifida (Siebold & Zucc.) Antoine, Pinus firma (Siebold & Zucc.) Antoine, Pinus bifida (Siebold & Zucc.) Antoine, Pinus momi (Siebold) Voss

Common names: Momi fir, Japanese fir (English), Momi (Japanes)



Tree to 40(-50) m tall, with trunk to 1.5(-2) m in diameter. Bark gray, becoming browner, flaky and then furrowed with age. Young branchlets with tiny, dark hairs in the shallow grooves between the leaf bases. Buds 3-5(-10) mm long, sparingly or not resinous. Needles arranged to the sides and angled upward in several rows, (1.5-)2-3.5 cm long, shiny dark green above, the tips sharply forked in young trees, simply notched or even bluntly pointed on old ones. Individual needles flat in cross section and with a resin canal on either side midway between the midvein and the edge and deep inside the leaf tissue, sometimes with an extra small resin canal near the margin or each side, usually without stomates above and with 14-16 lines of stomates in each gray stomatal band beneath. Pollen cones 10-20(-30) mm long, yellowish green. Seed cones elongate egg-shaped, (8-)10-13(-15) cm long, (3-)4-5 cm across, yellowish green when young, maturing grayish green. Bract blades about as long as the seed scales and with longer tips that point upward between the scales. Persistent cone axis narrowly conical. Seed body 8-10 mm long, the wingless than 1.5 times as long. Cotyledons four (or five).

The scientific name of Momi fir emphasizes its stiff needles.

Central and southern Honshū (primarily on the Pacific Ocean side of central Honshū), Shikoku, and Kyüshü (Japan). Forming pure stands or more commonly mixed with numerous other conifers in lower montane forests; (50-)300-1,000(-1,900) m.


Conservation Status

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern

Although there has undoubtedly been a decrease in Abies firma's area of occupancy over the past two or three generations, this is from a large basis and does not cause current concern for the species. Accordingly it is assessed as Least Concern.

Occurs as scattered trees or small groups over much of its range, with larger stands in the remainder. General slight decline in past, but future decline projected as probably not more than 5-10% over a period of 100 years.

Abies firma occurs on hills and in mountains of southern and central Japan, at elevations between 50 and 1,900 m a.s.l. (commonly 300 and 1,000 m). The soils are various mountain soils of volcanic origin or alluvial, and mesic. The climate is moist or wet, cool in the north of its range and warm temperate in the south, with annual precipitation above 1,000 mm. This species is a constituent of mixed forests (rarely in pure stands on dry sites) with e.g. Fagus crenata, Fagus japonica, Castanea crenata, Carpinus laxifolia, Quercus spp., Tsuga sieboldii, Pinus parviflora, Pinus densiflora, Pseudotsuga japonica, Abies homolepis, Cryptomeria japonica, Sciadopitys verticillata, Chamaecyparis obtusa, Torreya nucifera and Picea jezoensis ssp. hondoensis.

Natural forest areas near towns are declining so there is an on-going risk of loss of forest habit, taking Abies firma with it.

Momi fir is the most common and widespread fir in southern Japan and is regarded as an important timber tree. Its wood is light, soft and straight-grained and easily worked, but requires careful seasoning to prevent warping. It is used for carpentry making indoor framing, flooring, joinery, crates, boxes, etc., but the greatest quantities of its timber are converted to paper pulp. In plantation forestry it is only common in Japan, where old growth stands of this large fir have mostly been logged. Elsewhere, it is only used as an ornamental tree or planted in collections in arboreta and botanic gardens, requiring a climate with mild winters and abundant rainfall.

Included in some protected areas as part of wider natural forest protection.



Abies firma ’Bedgebury ‘ 
Abies firma ’Fastigiata’
Abies firma ’Gee’s WB ‘ 
Abies firma ’Golden Hue’
Abies firma ’Halgren’  
Abies firma ’Juvenalis’
Abies firma ’Nana Horizontalis’
Abies firma ’Pendula’
Abies firma ’Sol’
Abies firma ’Tardina’
Abies firma ’Vanc’
Abies firma ’Variegata’  



  • 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 CodeABIWTHOC0
Weight1.5 kg
Height15 - 20 cm

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