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Abies fargesii var. faxoniana

Abies fargesii var. faxoniana - Faxon fir
  • Abies fargesii var. faxoniana - Faxon fir - Click to enlarge
  • Abies fargesii var. faxoniana branches - Click to enlarge
  • Abies fargesii var. faxoniana leaves - Click to enlarge


Product Information


Scientific name: Abies fargesii var. faxoniana  (Rehder & E.H.Wilson) Tang S.Liu 1972

Synonyms: Abies delavayi var. faxoniana (Rehder & Wilson) A.B. Jackson, Abies fargesii subsp. faxoniana (Rehder & E.H.Wilson) Silba, Abies faxoniana Rehder & E.H.Wilson

Common names: Faxon fir (English), Minjiang Lengshan (Chinese)



Tree to 40 m tall, with trunk to 2 m in diameter. Bark gray, flaking, darkening, browning and finally breaking into deep ridges and furrows with age. Branchlets covered with reddish hairs except on main branches. New shoots densely pubescent with ferruginous short hairs; buds 4-5 cm long, 4 mm wide. Needles arranged to  the sides of the twigs in several rows, the upper rows shorter and bent up above the twigs on branches bearing seed cones, 1-2.5(-4.5) cm long, shiny bright green to dark green above, the tips usually notched, but sometimes blunt or pointed. Individual needles flat in cross section and with a modest to large resin canal on either side (usually) away from the lower epidermis and also well in from the leaf margins, the margins sometimes slightly rolled under, sometimes with a few short lines of stomates in the groove above near the tip and with 8-12 lines of stomates in each greenish white to silvery stomatal band beneath. Pollen cones 10-15 mm long, red. Seed cones elongate egg-shaped to cylindrical, (3-)5-9(-10) cm long, 3-4.5 cm across, violet when young, maturing purplish or reddish brown. Bracts sticking out slightly between the seed scales. Persistent cone axis swollen in the middle. Seed body 5-8 mm long the wing about as long. Seeds light brown, wings pale, tinged purple. Abies fargesii var. faxoniana can be distinguished by its densely hairy shoots that are often slightly paler than those of the type.

This rather weakly defined variety was first introduced from north west Sichuan by Ernest Henry Wilson (1876 - 1930) in 1910The epithet faxoniana was named in honor of Charles Edward Faxon, an illustrious American illustrator and botanist.

Southern Gansu, Sichuan, northwestern Yunnan (China), and southeastern Xizang (Tibet); 3,000-3,600 m


Conservation Status

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable

An estimated reduction of more than 30% in the past three generations (15 years) due to logging, means that this variety is assessed as Vulnerable.

Abiea fargesii var. faxoniana occurs in the high montane to subalpine zones of northern Central China, at elevations between 3,000 m and 3,600 m a.s.l. Soils are mostly grey brown mountain podzols. The climate is cold and moist. At its lowest elevation broad-leaved trees (e.g. Fagus engleriana, Davidia involucrata) are important, but Abies fargesii mostly forms either pure forests or mixed coniferous forests with among other species Picea purpurea, Picea asperata, Picea neoveitchii, Picea brachytyla, Larix potaninii, Abies chensiensis, Abies recurvata, Tsuga chinensis and Taxus chinensis. Some broad-leaved trees are usually present: Betula spp., Populus spp., and many shrubs: Cotoneaster, Ribes, Spiraea, Rhododendron and Berberis are among the common genera (except in dense Picea-Abies forest).

Past logging has reduced the population by more than 30%. There is an on-going risk from acid rain in parts of the population. This variety (and the species as a whole) was heavily exploited in the past for construction timber.

Logging of this variety is now banned.


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 CodeABI6CJ4G39
Weight1.5 kg
Height20 - 25 cm

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