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Abies sachalinensis

Abies sachalinensis - Sakhalin fir, Hokkaido fir
  • Abies sachalinensis - Sakhalin fir, Hokkaido fir - Click to enlarge
  • Abies sachalinensis branches - Click to enlarge
  • Abies sachalinensis leaves - Click to enlarge


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Product Information


Scientific name: Abies sachalinensis  (Friedr. Schmidt) M.T. Masters  1879

Synonyms: Abies akatodo Miyabe ex Sarg., Abies homolepis var. tokunaiae Carrière, Abies nephrolepis subsp. sachalinensis (F.Schmidt) Vorosch., Abies sachalinensis var. sachalinensis, Abies veitchii var. sachalinensis F.Schmidt, Pinus sachalinensis (F.Schmidt) Voss

Infraspecific taxa: Abies sachalinensis var. gracilis (Kom.) Farjon 1990, Abies sachalinensis var. mayriana Miyabe & Kudô 1919, Abies sachalinensis var. nemorensis Mayr 1880

Common names: Sakhalin fir, Hokkaido fir (English), Todomatsu (Japanese), Pikhta sakhalinskaya (Russian), Yayup (Ainu)



Tree to 30(-40) m tall, or dwarfed at 2-3 m in exposed habitats, with trunk to 1 m in diameter. Bark grayish white, remaining smooth or breaking up into grayish brown scaly ridges with age. Branchlets densely hairy in the prominent shallow grooves between the leaf bases or overall. Buds 3-5 mm long, hairy and moderately to heavily resinous. Needles arranged evenly and densely out to the sides and above the twigs and hiding them, (1-)1.5-3(-3.5) cm long, intense bright green above, the tips blunt, rounded, or slightly notched. Individual needles flat to slightly plump in cross section and with a resin canal near the center of each side (rarely near the lower epidermis), without stomates above and with seven to nine lines of stomates in each white stomatal band beneath. Pollen cones 10-15 mm long, red. Seed cones tapering strongly in both directions from the midpoint, (2.5-)5-7(-8) cm long, 2-2.5(-3) cm across, variously greenish brown through purple to black when young, maturing purplish brown. Bracts yellowish green to reddish brown, a little shorter to a little longer than the densely minutely hairy scales and hidden by them to emerging from and bent back over them. Persistent cone axis narrowly cylindrical to conical. Seed body (4-)5-6 mm long, the wing half to two-thirds as long. Cotyledons four or five.

Sakhalin (hence the scientific name) and southeastern Kamchatka (Russia) to Hokkaidō (Japan). Forming pure stands or mixed with other conifers and hardwoods in subalpine, boreal, and mixed forests; (0-)100-1,650 m.


Conservation Status

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern

As the assessment of the most widespread and abundant variety of this species is Least Concern, the species as a whole also falls into this category.

Sakhalin fir and its varieties occur from near sea level on the coast to an elevation of 1,650 m a.s.l. in the mountains. The soils are well drained but moist throughout the year, due to abundant precipitation in a cool to cold, maritime climate. In the north of its range the species is more common at elevations between 800 m and 1,100 m, where it is mixed with Picea jezoensis, Picea glehnii, Larix gmelinii var. japonica or Pinus pumila at the highest limit of trees. At lower elevations pure stands occur, below 800 m broad leaved-trees, e.g. Betula ermanii, Acer spp., Quercus mongolica var. grossesserata, Castanea crenata, Kalopanax septemlobus, and Magnolia hypoleuca become more abundant.

No specific threats have been identified at the species level. Old growth stands (and forests in general) are under increasing pressure from logging in most parts of its range outside of Japan.

This species is mainly logged for the manufacture of wood pulp used in the paper industry; its timber is of low quality for construction and carpentry. As an amenity tree it is little used outside the cool to cold maritime climate of northern Japan and the Russian Far East. It is in cultivation in botanic gardens and arboreta in Russia, northern Europe and New England, U.S.A., but rarely survives to maturity in countries with mild winters, where it will not go into prolonged winter dormancy and is susceptible to spring frosts.

This species is known from several protected areas.



Abies sachalinensis ‘Gedreht’  
Abies sachalinensis ‘Korsakov’
Abies sachalinensis ‘Manabe Column’   



  • 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 CodeABI4MWZZ5
Weight1.5 kg
Height15 - 20 cm

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